One of my favorite shows right now is ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ I see so much of my kids in the character Sheldon. Not the genius part, but in his actions. If you don’t the show, he is an uber-nerd, genius whose world is run by order, rules and routines. He does not understand social cues or normal humor. But his mother has taught him manners and etiquette. He often relies on his learned manners to know how to respond in social situations.
This is why manners are so important to our kids. Our kids may not know instinctively how to act and react in social situations, but if we teach them manners and social etiquette they will have a starting place. There will rarely be a situation that they come across that they won’t know how to respond.
There is nothing quite as embarrassing as when your kids are using horrible manners in public. As a mom of special needs kids, I’ve gotten pretty used to people giving me that ‘judgey’ stare. You know the one, it’s about ¾ ‘can’t your control your kids’ and ¼ ‘I’m so glad that’s not my kid.’
My kids do not always know what people expect from them in social situations. The stress of a public place often has them making poor decisions regarding their behavior. I understand that it’s hard for them to control their behavior in a world that is not designed for them, but often others do not. They are trying to find a way to navigate the world they live in, but do not totally understand. But, manners are something I can teach them at home and they can use everywhere. Manners level the playing field so to speak.
Good manners are a way to show you respect the people around you. When you teach your child manners they are able to understand the reactions of others a little better. You are doing your children a big favor when you teach them manners. They will have the confidence to live in their world. Manners is the one thing you can teach your children that will positively affect their present as well as their future.
What manners are important for all children to know? I have designed several printables that you can hang up around your home to remind you and your kids what manners are important. Download my free printables for the manners I teach my kids for at home, at the table, in public, and online.
But how do we teach our kids manners?
- Model good manners, at home and in public, for your kids. Our kids cannot be expected to behave differently than we do
- Act out social situations at home. We make a game of greeting people properly, of saying please and thank you or how to make conversation. This is especially good for my son with selective mutism.
- We create social stories with good manners as the spotlight. My kids always want me to tell them a story, so I make up stories with kids with good manners that will teach them how to respond in social situations.
- We have good manners parties. With Christmas coming up, we will attending several Christmas banquets and parties. We will have several practice dinners before hand, so we can demonstrate and practice good manners.
- We talk about what to expect and review what manners we expect before we go into any situation. Whether we are going to church or going shopping, we always review proper behavior and manners for that situation in the van on the way there. By now they can recite them to me before I even finish the question. But I have found if I don’t do it their manners are not as good.
What do you think about kids having manners? Absolutely or totally unnecessary? How do you teach your kids good manners?