In an age where informality seems to reign supreme, there is still a little thing called manners. Manners still matter in modern day society, and these eight in particular are easy ones you can be instilling in your child from toddlers to teens.
1. Don’t stare and point
Staring and pointing in awe of Fourth of July fireworks? Sure. Pointing the way of a giant giraffe at the zoo to signal their siblings? Sure. But teach your children not to point and stare at something or someone they find different, confusing or unique during everyday activities.
2. Be helpful and respectful to those with disabilities
In the beginning stages of learning about the world, this topic can be treated similarly to the “don’t stare and point” rule. Explain that differences are what make us unique as human beings and, if your child had questions, answer them honestly. As the child grows, teach them to help those with disabilities and to stick up for them if picked on.
3. Learn and remember names
We still come across adults that aren’t great at this and, while memory skills have something to do with that, teaching children while their brains are like sponges to look at a person’s face when introduced and to repeat the name will help them better remember and connect names with faces in the future.
4. Show respect to elders
According to Sheryl Eberly, author of 365 Manners Kids Should Know and a certified leadership coach, children should show respect in deference for their parents, grandparents, school teachers or other public figures. We couldn’t agree more. Tips for teaching a respect for elders can include first using their formal title, allowing them a seat or first plate during a social event and to be quiet when they are speaking.
5. Keep personal space in public
There’s nothing worse than walking down a wide open hallway or street than having a child run haphazardly into you (note: this also applies to cell phone screen staring adults). Teach your children to walk on the right side of the road, to say “excuse me” if they bump into someone and to hone in on social cues as to how closely they’re talking to or touching one another.
6. Be mindful of noise levels in social settings
Just as personal space is important, so is knowing when they can be loud and when to use “six inch voices.” A pretty easy rule of thumb: if it would turn heads to hear a heavy book drop on the ground or to hear glasses clank together, it’s not the time to be yelling or speaking loudly.
7. Stand when showing respect
“There are some things that just cause your child to stand out as being above average in good behavior, and standing is one of those,” Eberly says. “Whether it’s at a public ceremony with the national anthem, at church, or when guests are leaving your house, you stand up. The published author and public speaker explains to reward your children by prompting them to use the manner then praising them afterwards.
8. Be a good guest
Being a good guest not only teaches your children how to host their own guests but also how to not be terrors in a friend’s or relative’s home. Easy tips include: cleaning or offering to put away dirty dishes and towels after use, saying “please” and “thank you” to the adults in charge and adulting to the rules at the home like taking one’s shoes off when entering or turning lights off when he/she leaves a room.