Etiquette for Children—Top 5 Tips
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I recently read a blog about teaching Etiquette for Children that I would like to share. I feel that etiquette, or manners, has dwindled over the last many years by adults and kids, alike. However, I think that being polite, greeting people appropriately and making a good first impression are all still very important to not only teach our kids, but continue to model ourselves.
“5 Simple Etiquette Tips Every Child Needs To Know,” by Teresa, from the CuteKid Staff, focused on making a good first impression. I am in agreement with the author who asserts that, “As a parent you need to teach your child how to make a good impression. The key is etiquette for children.”
Etiquette for Children—Top 5 Tips
Greetings A proper greeting shows confidence and maturity. Teach your child to address people they meet by their title and name. Making eye contact is an important etiquette too. You can teach your child how to greet people by giving yourself a name and pretending to meet your child. Have your child practice saying, “Hello, Mr. Hansen,” and looking you in the eye. Remind them that they need to use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. and not an adult’s first name unless requested to use it.
Personally, I think that an important etiquette for children is to use titles even if they have permission to use an adult’s first name, such as a neighbor or close friend. In my office, I am referred to as Dr. Vicki and my office manager as Miss Andrea. It allow for some informality, while still maintaining a level of respect afforded someone older than they.
Handshakes In our society handshakes are used unlike the kisses that dominate European society. So it is an important etiquette for children to learn how to shake hands. Typically a person extends their right hand the one they use most often. For left-handers like my son, it is harder to remember that people shake with their right. Practice with your child so that they don’t grip too hard (it’s not a contest) or too soft (there should be some actual gripping) but right in between.
How often have you met someone and formed an impression on the basis of a handshake? Teaching this as an important etiquette for children will put them a step ahead and convey a sense of self-importance that I want all kids to feel. A handshake can say, “Pleased to meet you,” as well as, “I am someone to pay attention to.”
Please and Thank You These two phrases are still valuable today and their use shows a person has manners more than anything else. In order to teach these words as a parent you must use them yourself (and remind your kids about a million times). Talk to your child about why please and thank you are important. Everyone likes to be appreciated and according to Emily Post saying, “‘Please’ can turn a demand into a request and indicates an option and it can turn an unpopular request into a more palatable one.”
I still think these two “magic words” are still the most important when teaching etiquette for children. In this world of increasing entitlement, I am dismayed to see how often these words are absent in the interactions I witness between parents and kids. And, that goes both ways. Saying “please” and “thank you” to your kids is the best way to teach them to use them with you and with anyone else they are asking for something or receiving something.
Excuse Me This is a valuable phrase that is used too little. Besides saying “excuse me” after public bodily functions there are many other times when “excuse me” should be used. Such as when a person walks through a crowded room, bumps into someone, walks in front of someone, needs to leave a group, or needs to ask a question.
This phrase is also important to teach children to use when you are having a conversation (see below) and they are trying to get your attention. However, in teaching this important etiquette for children be sure that they learned to say it once—not over and over and over again—and then patiently wait for you to attend to them.
Not Interrupting Nothing shows bad manners more than a child who runs up to his parent in mid conversation and begins speaking. Teach your child that when you or anyone else is talking that they must wait until a break in the conversation before interrupting. Teach your child the right etiquette using a signal, such as raising one finger, to show that you acknowledge them and will listen in a moment. Then be sure to stop and listen to your child. Emily Post reminds parents that “the mother who invariably stops and says, ‘What is it, dear?’ when her daughter interrupts is helping her to establish a habit that will do her a disservice all her life.”
Not interrupting is a sign of respect and a key etiquette for children to learn. This one seems to be tough, however, for parents to model. As a parent, you may think that what you have to say is more important than the conversation or activity that your child is engaged in. But, I guarantee that’s exactly how your child feels barreling up to you and being told to wait.
So how about you? What behaviors do you think should be included in this list of Etiquette for Children?
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