We are doing our children a huge disservice when we don’t teach them or enforce the use of basic manners; please and thank you go a very long way.
Here are just a few examples of basic manners every child should be taught, age appropriate of course.
Ask “May I have” versus ‘Gimme that’!
Don’t talk with your mouth full.
Don’t make fun of anyone, we are all different. Being different is NOT Bad!
Be polite to others.
Say “excuse me,” rather than “move” and pushing past someone.
Wait your turn before you speak.
Do not interrupt someone while they are talking.
Ask if you can borrow something, not just taking.
Chew food with your mouth closed.
Say excuse me when leaving the table, likewise ask if you maybe excused.
Say “Please” when you’re asking for something and “thank you” when someone does something for you. Even if it is their job: ie., you ask a waiter or waitress for a refill on your beverage: “May I please have some more Juice?” and “Thank you,” when they bring it. Making eye contact and smiling when you do.
It’s also awareness of how your actions affect other people: don’t block doorways or passageways by just standing there, move out-of-the-way for someone who needs to get by; don’t be obnoxious (e.g., repeatedly honking your horn in a residential area, especially early morning or late at night( except in the case of an emergency), playing loud music in your car or talking loudly or laughing or singing in an area where people are enjoying a quiet relaxing atmosphere (especially after hours).
Ringing phones in a church, funeral or social gathering or talking loud on your cellphone; inappropriate conversations in public, allowing your children play or run around in a restaurant or supermarket, not supervising your children (causing destruction of other’s property), texting or talking on the phone while having a face to face conversation, hold doors open for the person behind you instead of bum-rushing to cut them off etc…
Good manners means not doing anything to put people down or make them uneasy or uncomfortable; that means not correcting their grammar or spelling unless you really don’t understand what they are getting at, and then only with great politeness; it means ignoring mistakes, like using the “wrong” utensil at a meal or not drawing attention to the fact that someone is eating something with their fingers or tucking their napkin into their collar rather than laying it on their lap.
It is very impolite to shout across a room, snap your fingers to get the attention of a waiter or waitress, talk on your cell phone when a cashier is ringing you up or a server is taking your order, also walking by the maids or custodial people at a hotel like they’re invisible, or speaking down to them, is very rude.
Good manners is also putting people at ease, for example if you see someone at a party or gathering who is by themselves and looking uncomfortable, you introduce yourself and try to make them feel included. It is also good manners to speak in a manner that is not rude, offensive or insensitive. Don’t do or say anything that may hurt someone’s feelings.
While I know that this is often easier said than done, if we instill these values in our children and enforce them, the likelihood that our children will practice good manners is much greater. No one is perfect, we are all works in progress.
Strive for excellence and reach for the stars!