“Remember to say please and thank you!” These are the last words my kids usually hear from me as they shut the car door and trot off to school. It’s my friendly little “manners” reminder.
Sometimes, I wonder if they are really implementing what I ask them when it comes to being polite. In today’s world, you tell kids to not talk to strangers, yet you want them to look someone in the eye and be respectful, too. It can be confusing.
At home, I want my kids to ask if they may be excused from the table. When they go to a friend’s house, I want them to say, “May Grace play with me?” Learning to be considerate, patient and tolerant are core values that I hope to instill in my kids.
As of late, I’ve been questioning their social graces a bit. My six-year-old daughter has a dance recital this weekend. Last Saturday morning was her dress rehearsal. After the practice, Olivia’s teacher told her that she had done a good job. Olivia’s reaction fell flat. She didn’t look at her teacher or respond. I found myself covering.
“Can you say thank you, hon?”
Silence….then, my nervous laughter.
“Thanks. We’ll see you next week,” I tell the teacher.
OK, that wasn’t good. Sure, teachers probably expect little kids to not say much, if anything. But, how great would it be if a child did look the teacher in the eye and said, “Thank you, Miss Amy!”
Granted, Olivia does act shy around adults. At home, though, it’s a different story. She’s full of energy. Do I just blow this off to her being shy and a kid??
Well, needless to say, this little moment bothered me. When we got home, I sent Olivia to her room.
After a punishment, I try to have my kids explain why they think I was upset. Wiping away big tears, Olivia said that she loved me so much, and she knew I was mad because she didn’t say thank you to her dance teacher.
My little kids do know that etiquette is important to us. I’m hoping that my nagging about being well mannered sinks in. I feel like good manners are important for a child’s self confidence and success in life.
I’d like to hear how you teach your kids about being polite. What lessons work for you?
Thank you! :-)