Saturday, April 25, 2009

Manners and Proper Etiquette

Manners and proper etiquette is a very important subject, so the next few posts will all be related to this topic. This post is about the basics of teaching a child something new, and the next few posts will deal with specific topics related to proper manners, as well as ways to go about teaching your child these specific things. Children are basically mimics. They repeat things that are done and spoken around them.

When it comes to teaching your child about good manners and proper etiquette, there are three important things to remember.

1. Reinforcement and encouragement

2. Set a good example

3. Avoid ignoring bad behavior

Reinforcement and encouragement, with helpful reminders and prompts from time to time are the keys to success when teaching a child proper etiquette. Repetition is the key here! They may not learn something the very first time they are taught, but if they do it or are reminded to do it daily, there is a much better chance of their brain wiring itself to remember these things in the future.

You must also remember to always set a good example! Your child having good manners is a direct reflection on you as a parent. It is also something that is a necessity in their lives and will remain so forever.

When teaching any form of manners, make sure you avoid ignoring bad behavior or improper etiquette, no matter where you are, or what may be going on at the time. As soon as your child forgets or breaks a rule, you must address the issue right away. This is very important. It will not work if you come home from the store and then tell your child what they may have done wrong. You need to nip it in the bud right then and there. Do not make it a negative experience; learning is almost impossible for a child if they do not feel safe and secure. The minute you raise your hand or your voice, the learning part of their brain stops, and the part of the brain responsible for threat and stress takes over. Simply inform your child patiently how it is done best, and why it is done that way. Later on you may want to bring up the issue again if you wish to explain yourself further, or if your child has any questions for you.

Always remember to praise your child for any good behavior. The more praise your child receives, the more likely they will be to repeat the good behavior!

“The hardest job kid’s face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”

-Fred Astaire

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