Teaching manners to kids? Start early

Konkana Bakshi
Filed on March 18, 2021

At a young age, your child is likely to absorb more easily

We love children with all their mischiefs. Even the ones with polite mannerisms should never be taught to take etiquette too seriously. But good manners should be part of habits that are taught at a very young age. A significant part of a child’s behaviour forms in the first seven years. This is the time when young moms can focus on emotion and cognitive attention. When your children adopt good manners as part of their daily habits, it helps them grow with stronger values and morals.

Mothers are the first etiquette teachers for their children, and I would encourage every young mother to train their child, as any specialist would. Here are three manners a child should be taught at an early age.

Greetings with a Hello

There are several children who hide away with a shy, cute smile behind a parent or grandparent in response to a hello. A child should be encouraged to respond with a hello or even better, initiate the greeting. It’s the first step to help your child be socially comfortable and get rid of any social inhibitions at a young age. This also helps build his or her confidence remarkably. Parents can greet their child with hello every time they see them. Make it a practice among your spouse to greet each other graciously, for that is where the child picks up from. Also, have a safety rule in place, making sure that the child does not say hello to strangers.

Conversations

Practise having a conversation with your children. If someone asks them, “How are you?”, the response should always be, “I’m well. Thank you! How are you?” instead of responding with just “ I am okay” or “ I am good” or with nothing at all. It’s a conversation, not a one-word reply. A child should also be taught to listen patiently when someone is talking and not interrupt their conversation. It’s a hard skill to teach children as they have a short attention span but even a little bit of guidance and patience can go a long way. A child should be encouraged to have a conversation with adults generally, so the confidence can start building at an early stage.

Cell phone etiquettes

Children, from a young age, should be taught the value of kindness and good manners while speaking on the phone. You want your kids to answer by saying “Hello” and when the person on the other end needs an adult, the kids should learn to exchange quick pleasantries and say, “One minute, please, I will hand the phone to Mom/Dad.”

The exchange of pleasantries should be encouraged by adults by asking about wellbeing and generic questions to encourage the child to respond politely. Most importantly, children should not be allowed to play with a cell phone, iPad or any digital device when at a dinner table with others and should be encouraged to communicate. This should be imposed as a rule of thumb by parents, at an early age. The key is to walk the talk. If you use cell phones during a meal, a child will follow the same.

Good manners are an essential asset that you can gift your children, from the right age. So, start early.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com