In order for kids to succeed, it's essential for them to have good manners. By knowing how to use proper social graces and how to be respectful to others, kids develop the skills they need to communicate, make friends and convey a positive impression to others - all things that are essential for a child to be well liked, well received and successful.
When you teach kids manners, you are equipping them with tools that will aid them the rest of their lives. Here's a list of manners that every kid needs to know:
- A firm handshake. Like it or not, we often form impressions about someone on the basis of a handshake. A good firm handshake can say: 'I am someone to pay attention to" whereas a weak handshake conveys the opposite.
- Good eye contact: Just like a weak handshake, bad eye contact can dramatically influence someone's perception of you. Help your student get started off on the right foot by teaching them how to look someone in the eye and give a firm handshake when they meet someone new.
- A proper greeting. Don't forget to teach them to address people by title and name when they meet them and to introduce themselves. "Hello Mrs. Teacher, my name is_______" is all it takes. Knowing how to properly greet someone gives kids confidence and has a tremendous impact on how they are perceived.
- Please and thank you. These two magic words are so easy to say but are surprisingly underused.
- Excuse me. See above.
- Not interrupting. Teach your student that when you, their teacher, their parents or even one of their friends is talking, they need to wait for a break in the conversation before jumping in.
TIPS FOR TEACHING MANNERS
BE AN OPEN BOOK
: Children respond better when they are told why things are important rather than just told to do something "because I said so." Explain to them the importance of good manners and why they should treat everyone with respect.
: Kids are sponges and pick up on everything you do and say. Say "please", "thank you" and "excuse me." Don't interrupt them when they are talking. If they interrupt you, politely tell them that they should to wait until you (or whoever is speaking) is done speaking before jumping into the conversation. When you see others demonstrating good manners, point it out to your student.
Kids love to pretend so try making a game out of it. You can role play certain situations with them like what to do and say when meeting someone new or what to say if they bump into someone in the hallway. (Feel free to be as imaginative as possible and use funny voices when acting out the role of the other person).
Be patient. It may take your student longer to develop good manners than you would like. Kids learn through repetition, so when your student exhibits poor manners, just politely tell him or her what the proper response would have been. (Often they know what the correct behavior is - you just have to ask).
DON'T FORGET ABOUT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT!
The best way to get kids to continue exhibiting good behavior is to praise them when you observe them demonstrating good manners. Like anything the key to teaching kids good manners is to make them feel good about themselves and to make it
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Talking Points / Conversation Tips
- If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what rule would you make? Why?
- Do you think manners are important? Why?
- What do you think is the most important rule you have been taught?
- Who is your favorite tv/book/story character and what do you like about him/her?
- Who is your favorite person? What do you like the most about him/her?
- If you could eat lunch with (insert name of favorite character/favorite person) where would you go and what would you eat together?
- If you could go anywhere in the world with (insert name of your favorite character/person) where would you go? How would you get there?
Remember to share your answers!
Book of the Month
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
This is the tale of Mufaro's two daughters, two beautiful girls who react in different ways to the king's search for a wife - one is aggressive and selfish, the other kind and dignified. The king takes on disguises to learn the true nature of both girls and of course chooses Nyasha, the kind and generous daughter, to be his queen.
Notes and Reminders
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"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say `It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."
Mr. (Fred) Rogers,
March 20, 1928 - February 27, 2003