Everyday manners challenge many people today, young and old. People want to do the right thing when it comes to etiquette and formal situations, but sometimes to have difficulty mastering these tasks. Manners do not have to be difficult and challenging. With a little help, anyone can learn good etiquette. Coaching should start at an early age – at home.
Parents are responsible for their children’s behavior. By being a good role model, parents teach their children good manners at home, and outside the home. It gives parents a sense of pride and joy – not only for themselves – but when other adults compliment them on the children’s actions.
Leading lifestyle and parenting expert Elise McVeigh has taught thousands of children manners in her popular camps and classes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Here are five things that you can do at home to teach your children good manners:
- Get relatives on board – Does Grandma and Grandpa tell the children that it is okay to jump on the couch when they spend the night at their house? Explain to them that if they do it at their house, they may think it is okay to do this at a friend’s house. Ask them to help you with a clear message and consistent behavior.
- Role-play – For example, before you walk up to the door of a friend’s house, pretend you are the friend’s parent. Practice your meeting and greeting, reminding your child to have a firm handshake, a clear and loud enough voice, and good eye contact.
- Sound positive when talking about good manners – When I meet parents for the first time in social situations they always say, “You are the manners expert. I constantly threaten my children that they will go to your class if they do not have better manners.” Instead parents should tell their children that there are rewards for learning good manners, such as being invited to a lot of playdates and parties.
- Family Dinners – We are all busy with children’s activities, and getting to sit down to dinner, as a family is a challenge. But even if it is just one parent and one child sitting down to eat, it is definitely worth sitting down at a set table. Ask your child to set the table every night, and politely remind him/her of how to use utensils correctly, and expect them to follow all the rules of good dining.
- Make it Fun– From games, to books, to videos; learning good manners can be fun! You know your child, and how he enjoys learning. Tools to learn good manners are just a computer click away. Check out children’s websites such as mrsmcveighsmanners.com for some great ideas!
Lifestyle/Parenting Expert Elise McVeigh has been teaching children’s manners for over 15 years. She has recently unveiled a series of books in time for the holiday season, including Professor Maynard Learns Good Table Manners and Mrs. McVeigh Meets Professor Maynard. The books are available through mrsmcveighsmanners.com and amazon.com.