We all want our children to grow up with good manners, right? Sometimes I wonder if my expectations for my children are too high, or too low. Should they be looking someone in the eye when they greet them? Is it OK that they yell, “Thank You!” as they run away from a friend’s house at the conclusion of a play date, or should they stop and thank the adult and child?
For a while, I chalked my daughter’s hesitance to thank adults up to her being shy, until she got to be 5. Then I attributed it to her just not wanting to say thank you. That’s when I decided it was time to really start teaching manners. I had a discussion with her about why it is important to say thank you to an adult when given something or at the conclusion of a play date. Also, don’t just mutter thank you as you are walking out the door, stop and make sure the adult can hear you when you say thank you. Well, little did I know, she is capable of doing that!
When thinking about teaching manners, one should think about his or her own values. What is or is not important to you and your family? Also, what is appropriate to expect of a child at what age? It is important to remember that we teach our children everything. So, unless we expect it, teach it, and model it, our children are not likely to do it.
By Lauren Robinson, Elementary and Middle School Educator and School Counselor