Oftentimes, how a kid behaves is a reflection of what is being taught at home, and at school. Your child is a mirror to the kind of parenting you impart. The question is how early should you have the etiquette talk with your toddler? The right time to start would be as soon as they start to talk.
So, what does etiquette entail? At the core, it is to treat everyone around, with care and kindness and be respectful towards each other. But etiquette isn’t simply limited to how a child converses. It goes beyond that.
Worth a Dine: As a young parent, you could start by teaching dining etiquette once your child is old enough to sit and eat on the table. Introduce your toddler to the right way of holding silverware. Then proceed to the next step of teaching them how to close the plate once they are done eating. You can teach them that keeping elbows on the table is a no and so is opening their mouth while chewing food. Always remember to reward them for good behaviour. Afterall, which child doesn’t love a treat for their impeccable manners. This will also encourage them to keep at it.
Today’s Word Is: Make etiquette a part of their daily vocabulary. Every time, you hand them over something, teach them to say Thank you in return. A pat on the back or a soft nudge on the head when they say Thank you is a good way to acknowledge your child’s good behavior. Teach them the importance of words like Please, Excuse Me and Sorry, while educating them about the situations where they can use these terms.
Knock, Knock, Who’s There: It is polite to knock on the door before opening it. Learning etiquette can be fun too. Turn it into a game. Play the Knock, Knock, game with them or get creative and since Christmas time is near, be their Santa and give your child a small gift each time they knock and enter the room. If they forget to knock, tell them the treat is reserved for the next time they enter after knocking.
It’s Greet to Meet You: Your child must learn early on how to greet people, whether they are his or her own age, younger or older. A simple Good Morning, or Good Night can win your child brownie points from one and all. It goes a long way in showing how well-groomed your child is. A loved child is a happy child and who doesn’t love a child with manners in place.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover or Otherwise: It is rude to judge anyone based on their appearance. Teach them about being sensitive and about the importance of appreciating people based on their qualities instead of how they look. Your child will grow up to be empathetic if this is inculcated from an early age.
Once you get the basics right, there is little scope for you to go wrong with parenting!