Good manners should be taught at home. When your kids reach school-age, they must already know basic respect and proper etiquette. Though their teachers play a big role in shaping a child’s manners and ethics, a parent’s role can never compare.
You are your child’s mentor for their whole lives. Even if they leave the nest, they’d continue to act out the manners they’ve learned from home, mostly because they’ve watched you do them growing up. Simple acts such as knocking before entering a room, closing the door when leaving a room, and putting the dishes in the sink show more of their upbringing than you realize.
Your kids can have the highest grades and the longest list of achievements, but if they can’t show proper etiquette at home, they can still appear disrespectful or irresponsible. Their stellar marks and accomplishment won’t matter anymore in that case.
A good attitude is more important than achievements. So before training your children to be studious, mold them into respectful, responsible, and kind people first. By teaching them the good household manners below, you can confidently say that you’ve raised your kids well, and your kids will be proud of their upbringing:
1. Table Manners
Children must know how to behave properly at the dinner table. Table manners become more critical when you’re dining out, or dining with guests. If your children often fuss over your meals and cause a scene, and you don’t stop them, they won’t hesitate to do the same when you’re out in public.
Bad table manners cause an inconvenience to servers, cooks, and to you as well, because your children’s fussing will be attributed to the way you raise them. So before their behavior gets out of control, teach them the following manners:
- Not reaching over the table to grab a dish
- Using the table napkin to gently wipe their mouths
- Put the table napkin where it belongs
- Not chewing with their mouths open
- Not speaking when their mouth is full
- Putting away the dishes
You may notice that many adults actually have poor table manners. Doesn’t it make you uncomfortable to dine with them? The situation can even be more awkward when it’s kids who don’t behave well, because they can start throwing a fit when you call them out. So ingrain good table manners to them at home, and they’ll automatically practice good behavior wherever they dine.
2. Leaving their Shoes Outside the House
In Asia, it’s a custom to always remove your shoes when entering your house or someone else’s. It’s a way to treat the house and its owner with respect because you’re leaving your dirty shoes outside, where they can’t soil the floor. Some westerners may be unfamiliar with this custom, but it’s high time they adopt it too. Stepping inside the house with your outdoor shoes brings in germs from the streets.
Research has found that shoes can carry microbes like viruses and bacteria. While the shoes themselves won’t spread illnesses, they’ll still contaminate your living spaces with microbes. If you keep your shoes in a storage space inside the house, buy a high-quality outdoor doormat, and rub the soles of your shoes on it before taking them inside the house. Teach your kids to do the same in any home they go to, and to just leave their shoes outside if they can’t wipe them with a mat.
3. Playdate Manners
Your children’s manners show a lot when they play date with their friends. If they never greet their friends’ parents or guardians, make a mess in their house, and refuse to follow the house’s rules, they’d keep that attitude until their adulthood, disrespecting boundaries and insisting to always have things their way. Fortunately, you can prevent that by teaching them playdate manners early on.
Playdate manners include following the rules of the house they’re playing at, not eating until the host eats first, keeping their voice down, and cleaning up after themselves. By teaching those manners to your kids when you play date at home, they’ll automatically behave properly when they play at another kid’s house.
4. Respecting Privacy
Kids tend to barge in on people, especially on their parents, and ask them to play. But this behavior should stop at a certain point in their childhood. If they don’t learn how to respect privacy, they’d never knock on doors before entering a room. They’d also expect you to attend to them no matter what you’re doing, even if that’s work or chores.
Don’t let your kids think that it’s okay to disturb people. Tell them to knock first, even if the door is ajar if they need something from you. Let them know that they must also wait for an answer before walking in and asking something.
Your children’s sense of respect, responsibility, ethics, and etiquette will all be based on the manners they’ve learned at home. Their manners will define what kind of adults and workers they’d be. The better-mannered they are, the more dependable they’ll become.