Tuesdays Top 10 – Manners Your Kid Should Know By Age 5
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Kids are never too young to learn manners. In fact, in a day and age when we are seeing more teenagers lacking in the manner department, it seems more important than ever that the parents of young kids start early in teaching their children how to interact with the world. The truth is your child will get further in life, and will be more respected by adults and playmates alike, if they learn manners.
Whenever I see a child without a clue about how to act in public, or how to interact with adults I immediately blame the parents. Very young children are not just developmentally ready, but eager to learn how to appropriately engage with others socially.
1. How to say please. And thank you. Please and thank you, in the words of Barney the purple dinosaur, truly are the magic words. And this little tidbit of mannerly behavior can be taught even before your child is able to talk. Making please and thank you a habit in the home, makes these courtesies a habit in life.
2. How to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Spittle flying from little noses and mouths is just plain gross. Trust me; teachers appreciate children who know this before they get to school.
3. How to ASK before taking. There is nothing more disturbing than a child who hasn’t yet learned that they aren’t the center of the universe. Children should ASK before taking something that is not theirs, and this includes mom and dad’s stuff.
4. How to say sorry: for real. Not the kind of “I’m sorry” that means nothing because they were forced to say it by an angry parent. Empathy is definitely a life skill.
5. How to KNOCK on doors before entering. And this includes the bathroom while mom is trying to take a poop in private.
6. How to say “Excuse me!” Children are naturally impatient. Far too often, you see parents who jump every time their child interrupts them. Children need to learn when they can and when they cannot interrupt people, and should learn how to gently say “excuse me,” rather than insist on incessant tapping and saying “Mama, Mama, Mama.”
7. How to sit quietly. It’s rude to talk through an entire movie. Kids need to learn how to calm down their wiggles and giggles in less than interesting situations. Patience is a definitely a virtue.
8. Okay, so my dinner table is at times pure pandemonium. Still, my kids know how to use their cutlery, and how NOT to talk with their mouths full. And when we are not at home, manners are a must – even for my 5 year old.
9. Not to make fun of people. Toddlers and young children are notorious for pointing out gigantic moles or fat people in public. But parents must teach children that sometimes insults like these hurt feelings unnecessarily. It’s not nice to make fun of people or point out their flaws.
10. How to be helpful and compassionate. Hold a door open for someone that has their hands full. Ask their teacher or parent if they need help with chores. Recognizing ways to be helpful and compassionate to others is a gift that children can learn early in life, one that will make them feel good about themselves – and be well liked by others.
What manners do you feel are important for children to know? How do you instill manners in your child?