As a new parent, there is a lot of information to take in. It can often feel overwhelming and the thought of “am I doing it right?” often crosses your mind. Every parent has these days and it is totally normal to feel this way. But, one thing you will want to consider when teaching your children life lessons is good manners. In fact, many would agree that lessons in good manners can’t start early enough.
- Other People Matter, Too
When you teach a child from a young age about good manners and being polite, it helps them to recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that other people matter, too. There are times when your child will say that an item or a piece of food or treat is “theirs” and that’s the end of the conversation, but learning about respect and manners helps them to understand that they can’t always have their own way at all times. With so many people around them, both now and into their future, learning that other people matter helps to build their character and to form lifelong good habits.
- They Learn Easily
When children are still at a young age, they are often like sponges, soaking up all the information they can in such a short space of time. You may have heard your child pick up on a word or phrase that you say often because they are constantly learning. The early years are often known as the formative years and because of that, learning about mutual respect and good manners is well taught from a young age. Because of this, children who are taught manners at a young age have a slimmer chance of behaving badly when they get older.
- Bad Habits Are Harder To Break When Older
Even as an adult, it’s safe to say that bad habits can be hard to break. From eating bad to smoking, as an adult, there is sure to be a bad habit that you have formed over the years that you have tried to break, which you may have found rather difficult. When looking at the behaviors of children, it’s actually easier to break bad habits when the child is still young and hasn’t formed the bad habit into stone just yet. As soon as your child starts picking up on a bad habit, rectifying it at a young age is the easiest solution.
- You Spend More Time With Them
Teaching your children good manners is almost a lifelong activity, however, when your children are quite young, this is the time that you will be with them the most. As they get older, they will be in school for the majority of their days and eventually will be out at social gatherings, university or at their job. Before they reach school-age is the prime time to help to instill good manners into your children because you will be able to be with them the most during this time.
- Articulate Emotions and Feelings
Some children, especially when at a younger age, are so caught up in how they feel within a situation, that they may not remember some of the manners you have tried to teach them. It’s important to stay patient and to understand that they are still learning. One method that may help in a situation is to remind them of feelings. When reading a book to your child, there may be certain characters within the story who are going through various feelings like anger, sadness or happiness. Prompt your child to think about how a character in a story might feel. “How do you think that made them feel?” or “Do you think that made them sad/angry/upset?” By trying to help your child understand different emotions, it may be easier to help them understand how others feel in certain situations. If they refuse to share a toy with a child at school, if you can help them to understand why that child might be sad and how they would feel in the situation, you can help your child to feel empathy and react in a more positive way.
- Don’t Lose Your Temper
It can be quite frustrating when you feel like you’re getting nowhere fast, but these kinds of lessons are something to be taught in the long run and over time as your child gets older. It may feel like they’re just not understanding it, but over time, you will reap the rewards. It’s important when trying to teach young children ultimate life skills that you don’t lose your temper or get stressed out over some of the outcomes. Child psychologist Richard Gilham says that speaking to children calmly and letting them see you treat others with respect is the best way to set a good example. There will be days that are harder than others, but it’s important to note that some very young children often cannot control their impulses yet, and therefore are still learning about their own reactions. Stay calm and if you need to, talk about the situation at a later time after you child has calmed down.
Your children are learning so much as they grow up and a lot of information can be overwhelming for them. However, as a parent, you have the capabilities to teach them great life skills and helping them to understand good manners, respect and being polite to others is a great life skill that will help them to succeed in daily life as an adult.
Article is written and submitted by fellow mom: Gwen Mackey. She is a mother, daughter, wife & writer. She’s one of the many other Wonder Women in the world, and you can follow her on Twitter.