Must-Do Manners

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Manners and kindness are big in our house. I like to think that I’m a pretty relaxed and flexible Momma in most areas, but there are no if’s, and’s or but’s when it comes to being kind and using manners.

Having spent a fair amount of time at Sweetly Six’s school this year, I am amazed (aghast is a better description!) by how few children consistently use manners (and it’s not for lack of effort by her wonderful teacher!).  I am forever reminding kids to say, “Please” and “Thank You” at school.

Why are they so important to me, you ask? Well, I believe that at the heart of good manners is a respect for oneself and others. Good manners convey a sense of respect for the sensibilities of other people. I believe that the acquisition of basic manners is a two-way street. Children learn manners by consistent example. When taught by respectful role models, children learn to respect others. Manners become automatic and authentic (Silver Lining in my book!).

Teaching your child to think about other people’s feelings will help them to be the first to set the tone in new relationships. I believe that social skills are fundamental imperatives for learning, building relationships, communication and more.

In addition to building respect and shaping character, manners are also an integral part of success. In fact, did you know that new research is showing that social skills have a greater influence on potential success and even income than academic achievement?!? I’m just sayin’…manners are important!

Below are some of our faves:

  1. Please and Thank You: You will be doing your child a favor if you insist that she say “Please” and “Thank You” until these words become a habit. Before Sweetly Six leaves for school or a play date, I say, “What are you going to use today?” She says, “My manners.” It’s how we roll…
  2. Greetings: Since Sweetly Six was oh, about 3, we have taught her to greet people by name, with a firm handshake and eye contact. Learning early on to look someone in the eye and say “Hello Mrs. So-And-So”–instead of “Hi” mumbled at the ground-is a valuable lesson for the future.
  3. Table Manners: Table manners for children are the same as they are for adults. However, if it’s a long meal, it’s ok to excuse little kids (heck, sometimes even I want to be excused!). Sweetly Six is a major fidgeter. She can actually stay at a table for a prolonged period, but has a pickle of a time actually sitting in her chair. Table manners are a work in progress over at our house….
  4. Privacy: In order to teach your children to respect your privacy, you must respect theirs. Every morning, when Sweetly Six gets up, she closes her door and reads and/or plays for about 30 minutes. She (and we!) value her alone, private time.  She is also one who is quick to say, “Momma, I need privacy” when she is in meltdown mode (yes, it does happen every once in a while). She uses private time as an opportunity to reboot and pull herself together.
  5. Interrupting: Teach your children not to interrupt. Ever.

Manners are the happy way of doing things.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Comments

  1. Valérie says

    Un petit coucou pour vous dire que je suis absolument d'accord !
    Merci et s'il te plait on une place importante chez nous , particulièrement avec les enfants (2 et 4 ans) . La politesse, et le respect d'autrui font partie des bases essentielles pour que chacun trouve sa place dans la famille et la société.
    En tant que parents nous essayons d'apprendre tout cela aux enfants même si nous ne sommes pas des anges et nous ne leur donnons pas toujours le bon exemple. Pour ma part, il m'arrive d' avoir un vocabulaire "fleuri" particulièrement quand je suis au volant d'une voiture….La présence des enfants nous pousse a nous voir comme nous sommes avec nos défauts et nous donne envie de nous améliorer.

    • says

      Chère Valérie, Je vous remercie pour votre commentaire. Je ne pouvais pas être plus d'accord. Notre fille me rappelle de mes manières d'utiliser aussi bien … et j'adore ça! J'apprécie vraiment vos commentaires … et votre lecture du blog!

  2. Adrienne says

    Right On Girlfriend ! I have worked at some schools for many years and I am amazed at the lack of manners . Keep up the good work with Sweetly Six ! She is always a joy for us to be around !

  3. Francesca says

    Hi! Really enjoy your blog. Thank you! You are an inspiration. Wondering if you know anything about Montessori education? Grace and courtesy lessons are part of the curriculum from 3 years old and up. Wonderful approach. Are you able to point me to specific studies that you referenced? Would love to read more about that research. Thank you!

  4. says

    You will not be disappointed that you pushed these kindnesses as disciplines in your home. My daughters are grown and two of the kindest individuals that I know. I am so proud of them both. Even if I make a negative comment, they are likely to say, "you know, it could be that Xperson is just having a bad day mom, don't take it personally." :) The other thing I encouraged was "Thank you" notes. My children learned to write them; I always supplied the stationary. To this day, I hear wonderful comments from relatives about how nice it was that one of my daughters wrote a Thank You to them…Thank YOU for your wonderful blog!

    • says

      Thanks so much for your note, Nancy! Sweetly Six corrects me as well…and I admit that I LOVE it! I wholeheartedly agree about the Thank You notes. Absolutely. Thanks for reading the blog!