Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Hello from ECFE. Summer is on the way!. Along with that, most of us will be bringing our children to more activities. Wouldn't it be nice if your child could show off their good manners? Good-mannered people are pleasant to be around, both in public and private. Simple courtesies - saying please, thank you, excuse me - help make our world a little more personal, a little gentler. However, the key to good manners is attitude. It is a respect for the rights, ideas and feelings of others, even those with whom we disagree. When can you start teaching children manners? The earlier the better. Training in table manners can begin as soon as the child in the high chair starts to use a spoon and cup. A simple "please" and "thank you" routine can start even before your toddler can say the words correctly. Polite forms of address are well within the ability of a four-year-old. Of course, parents need to be reasonable. The baby may use his spoon to deposit vegetables on the floor. The toddler may be so hungry that "please" is just too long to wait. The four-year-old may have an attack of shyness and refuse to be coaxed out from behind your knees to "say hello to Mrs. Jones." At times like these, your own good manners tell you not to push. Start with the basics. Choose the manners that are most important to you personally and concentrate on those. If you start teaching them purposefully and systematically in the preschool years, they should be habitual by the time a child enters school. Here are some examples: respect other people's property and privacy; behave well at the table; avoid being rowdy in public; don't interrupt or contradict; and don't demand one's own way all of the time. How do you go about teaching manners? Manners are being taught by example instruction, reminding and correcting. Example: The very best place to start teaching manners is in the home. When parents are respectful to each other and to their children, they are setting an example that speaks much louder than words. Instruction: As important as a good model is, it is not enough. Children do not automatically pick up the nuances of civilized behavior. Examples must be backed by explanation and instruction. Children need to be told exactly what is expected of them. Reminders: One instruction is not enough. Reminders are necessary - over and over again. Friendly reminders work better than hostile ones. Correction: Reminding a child of the rules is
sometimes necessary and positive remarks work best: "Please use your napkin." Be liberal with praise: This is an effective way to encourage good manners.
Children learn good manners in much the same way they learn to share and to take turns. These, too, are ways of expressing the same attitudes of caring and consideration. Make a great week with your children. Maggie Lundorff