“They’re still young, they’ll learn when they’re older” is a common phrase that we often hear, but in truth, children will only learn only if they are nurtured well. Unlike mathematics and motor skills, it is never too early to cultivate well-bred social behaviour. Having good manners aren’t just about saying please and thank you, it’s about being sensitive to their environment. Here are a few mannerisms you can start with!
Once kids finish eating, they are usually not willing to wait for everyone else to finish before leaving the table. Ensure you’ve kept all their toys before the meal and keep them occupied with conversation as you eat. If they persist in their restlessness, tell them that they won’t be allowed to come back once they leave the chair. Your toddler is capable of understanding instructions, just be firm in your decisions!
Waiting at the Table
It’s time to wean them off eating from hand to mouth, show them how to hold utensils properly and let them use it by themselves, even if they fumble at first. More importantly, teach your children how to ask for food and wait for the elders before having the first bite at the table.
How many times has someone called your little one pretty or adorable while they simply turn or look away in silence? It is time to apply “thank you” appropriately. Cultivate this mannerism initially by expressing gratitude on their behalf and eventually asking them, “Uncle James just said you’re clever, can you say thank you?”
Greet and Acknowledge
When you meet with other adults, it’s important in our culture for children to greet them. To reinforce this, greet your hosts or guests first and remind your child to do the same, encourage them to “Come say hello to Aunty Jenny”. It’s difficult to force your tot to speak when they’re too shy, so be patient and exercise positive reinforcement.
Children respond to positive reinforcement better than punishment. As serial mimickers, they learn best through copying – lead by example and your child will soon follow suit!