It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men- Frederick Douglass
Well, seems too real to be true right, in fact this is one basic truth we all have to understand. In Tamil there is a saying that “5 thil valayathathu 50 thil valayathu” meaning that which cannot be bent at five can never be bent at 50. Yes! It is very important to teach things that we think are important (aka manners) to children at an early stage itself, especially if you want your children to be well mannered and want them to remain so in the future too.
Need of Quality Time
In this age when parents find themselves at a loss for quality time to spend with their children, teaching social graces and etiquette has become more of a burden to them. Instead they pack their children off to playschools at a tender age, to learn under the care of teachers and are satisfied that they have done their duty.
In fact even during holidays we do not leave any leaf turned in search of those summer classes that would eep the children busy and away from TV, and that’s it we have done our duty, right?
Even those who are willing to go the extra mile find themselves at a loss on the right way to instil good values. Today’s children are far too exposed that sculpting their habits for the general good behaviour as well as bringing out and nurturing the social being from within them at an early age is a necessity.
So here are some tips on teaching manners to your kids without being harsh to them.
Practise What You Preach
Children pick up their first lessons from their parents. They copy what they see you doing. Treat people with kindness & the respect they deserve & your kids will do the same. Always be careful of what you speak in the presence of children, they are like sponges absorbing every drop.When you’re not sure what exactly to preach read this Harvard report on raising kids right!
Watch Your Language
Always make sure that your language is used for its best benefits.
“SORRY” and “THANK YOU” are the golden words that never go out of fashion. Apologizing for a mistake made unknowingly and thanking someone for their help will surely make your kid come across as well mannered. When you do this your child is sure to follow.
Get Them to Listen
If you really want your children to listen to you, your first step is to listen to them. always pay attention to whatever they have to say, even if you are busy. Most of the naughty antics kids do are usually their way of getting your attention.
Prepare Them for The Big, Bad World Outside
Though we all want to cocoon our little ones from the scary elements, being over protective will only result in them being ill-prepared. Let them know you will always be there to support them from behind, however let them have all those tiny exposures that would prepare them for the future. This will help them grow into strong, confident individuals.
Interrupting Is Rude
Teach the kids that interrupting when elders are speaking is bad manners. Wait till they finish their conversation. In case of an emergency, use “EXCUSE ME”.
Making it sound like a workshop again would a mistake these things have to be done in a casual manner, like when you are travelling somewhere and you know that your child has his complete attention towards you, you can slowly begin the education classes with conversations that would be of interest. You can even ask how some boy has to react in a situation.
Some kids can make very snarky comments about someone?s appearance or about how they feel. Teach your kids not to air their negative opinions out loudly. Saying nothing is better than saying mean things. If at all they feel strongly about something, they can talk to you in private.
Complimenting others for their good qualities is a good sign. Always encourage it. Never forget to mention your delight about how your child complimented someone else.
Teach them young that bullying others won?t do, whether with someone of their age or someone younger or an animal. Everyone deserves respect. Respecting others? feelings has to start young o make him into a good understanding adult.
No Foul Language
Today’s media has made certain kids mature mentally faster than they do physically. They feel using adult language makes them “cool” Teach them it’s not! It will only create a bad impression on others. Their manners needs to show on their language too.
Teach kids throwing tantrums, especially in front of others is not going to help him in any way. Bribing them to keep quiet in such instances will only make them repeat it, so make sure you repeatedly tell him to stop and never heed to him when such public display is done, once he/she knows they can control you when in a group or crowd, mind you, you are in for a repetitive act.
Whether they are at home or outside, teach them proper dining etiquette. Leaving excess food on the plate, throwing food off the plate, making loud noises while eating are bad manners. If you are eating out, make sure your kids don?t disturb the other diners.
It would seem a Herculean task to connect with your child and bend him as you want him to be, however once you know the knack of it you would be surprised to see how easy it is to make your child behave exactly how you want him to. Patience and practice is the mantra here.