Bringing Manners Back
As infants, our babies look into our eyes longingly, with awe. We, as their parents look back at them in the same manner. Each little person comes with a clean slate that we as their parents help form for their future. It all begins with how we hold, talk to, and encourage them as they look back at us, what tones we use in the words we speak, our actions to others, etc.
Our children are forming their vocabulary as they develop and reach milestones, they are watching our every move and how we act and react to things in our environment. As you react to people and things around you, your baby is developing his personality and how he too will react to situations in his environment because of what he sees in your behavior and reaction.
In a world so vast with technology, we are becoming an instant-gratification society. We want things yesterday, we can’t wait to ask a question, we don’t have the patience to wait our turn in traffic, etc. all while losing the gift of what our parent’s taught us such as manners, waiting for something to come in the mail, being polite, letting others go before us, etc.
We need to instill in our children what manners are and how to use them properly. You don’t want your child stomping their foot because they had to wait for their turn in line, interrupting his teacher while she’s speaking to another parent, or pushing someone off the slide because he cannot wait to go down the slide.
We need to work together to be certain manners don’t get lost in the past.
Here are a few pointers to be certain your good manners will carry on to your children and will become habit with them, as they grow:
#1 Your children will emulate what they see. They will witness how you react to another person and/or even themselves. If you need to interrupt them speaking, apologize for interrupting them and explain the urgency of your interruption.
#2 Be consistent. You need to have patience and repeat manners, sometimes many times. Tell them the reason why you are being consistent.
#3 Start with teaching your child to use sign-language for “Please” and “Thank You”. Teaching baby manners through sign language will make manners a habit before they can say “habit”. When they start to speak, the manners you’ve shown them and taught them through sign language will be second nature.
#4 Repeat and repeat again. If you are speaking to someone and your child wants something from you, remind your child, ”Mommy is speaking to this lady, and I will listen to you when I am finished.” They may not get what message you are trying to portray, but repetition and an explanation is so important to help remind your child of the message you are trying to teach, in this case not to interrupt. Be certain to help your child as soon as you are finished speaking with “the lady”.
#5 Remind, remind, remind. It’s always best to remind your child of his manners before, during and after a situation. You may say, “I’m going to ask this lady a question. Remember, you have to wait until I am done speaking to her to ask me something.” If he/she interrupts, remind him of the conversation you had before speaking to “the lady”. If he/she didn’t interrupt, be certain to praise him for not interrupting and why it’s good not to interrupt. With a few reminders, this manner will be mastered.
Prompt him when he forgets his manners. If someone gives him a balloon, he should thank him or her for it. It takes a lot of repetition for one to make manners habit. We all live such busy lives and would like to be lax at times instead of parenting, but being consistent will forever pay off.
Together, we can make a difference.