It is never too young (well almost never) and indeed never too late to teach children common courtesies. These go a very long way in embedding desirable behaviors that will serve them well on multiple fronts. This is being lost in some sectors of our society. Why? Some parents assume their children will simply pick these up as they grow. Some let the busyness of life get in the way of taking the time to do this. And some just don’t give it any priority. This is not good.
Not long ago, an employee at a newly established company found himself sharing space with other colleagues in a newly designed workspace. He was aghast as he began to see up close just how lacking some of his colleagues were with their personal hygiene and lack of basic social skills. These deficiencies didn’t just show up. They took root many years before.
So what might you ask are some important courtesies that parents should be teaching their children?
“Hello” and “Goodbye”
It is disappointing to see a young person greeted by someone, whether it be another child or adult, only to see that child ignore the greeting. That is simply being rude. Teaching children social graces such as “hello” and “goodbye, as well as teaching them to acknowledge those speaking to them, is not only a way to develop respect and good manners, but is also a means to develop their social skills. It encourages them to talk and recognize other people’s presence.
Powerful Words: “Please” and “Thank you”
Teach your child to say “please” every time he/she makes a request and to say “thank you” every time someone does something for them. Not only will this show appreciation, but doing this regularly will build a thankful mindset
Ask before you take
When a child takes something from another child without seeking permission, it can, and likely will, create conflict. Not just between the children involved, but also between the parents as well. Teach your children to ask before taking something that isn’t theirs. What do you call it when someone takes something that isn’t theirs: stealing. That is NOT a habit for any child to develop.
Say sorry because you mean it
These days, many people speak the word “sorry” without actually meaning it. The best way to instill empathy and sincerity into your child is by teaching him/her how to say “sorry” when he/she truly feels sorry. The best way for your child to learn this is for YOU to practice it with them. No…not through role-playing, but through your saying sorry to them because an action of yours warrants it.
Children are impatient by nature. If they need something from you, they will ask for it right there and then, even when you are in the middle of something. You may have noticed some children interrupting their parent’s conversation with other people, calling out to the mother or father repeatedly, and in return, the parent gets angry with the child for doing so. Refine your child’s upbringing by teaching him/her how to say, “Excuse me.”
Address people with their real names or nicknames
Calling others mean names is already an act of bullying, and when this act gets worse, a simple act may lead to physical violence. Instill in your child that when speaking with others, address them using their real names, whether at school, home, or anywhere. You may tell them to use nicknames when and only if they are given nicknames. Of course, you have to lead by example.
Listen when someone is speaking
Teach your children to never interrupt when someone is talking, to listen patiently and to wait their turn to talk. Yawning and loud burping are unseemly habits that should be avoided when someone is talking. Teach your children that butting into a conversation is simply an offensive behavior.
Greet others with a smile.
This may seem cliché, but a simple smile can significantly change and affect the mood of those people around you. Practicing how to smile often when interacting with others can make a huge difference. If nothing else, the recipient of your smile comes away having had a pleasant exchange with someone, possibly gaining a brighter outlook on his or her day.
Now the Challenge: mark your calendar and make a concerted effort to work on these with your children each day for 21 days straight. Then, take stock in their behavior and make some honest observations. You just might be surprised at what you see.
[NOTE: portions of this article were taken from https://childrenspublishing.com/common-courtesy-for-kids-that-every-parent-must-impart/]