Please, thank you, excuse me, pardon, may I, hello, goodbye – we all know what these words are and what they mean, but we do know how to use them and do we teach them in proper context to our children?
As a teacher for twenty years I have worked with hundreds of children from varying cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds, I have seen children with high level manners and I have seen children with no manners at all, and of course I have seen children with simple manners who are using please and thank you when they remember.
Common situations where manners are required:
Walking through a door may call for the implementation of manners – if someone is coming behind you, you may need to linger for a nano-second so you can hold the door for the next person, if you walk through a door which is held open for you by another, a simple “thank you” is required.
If you see someone you know or walk into a room of acquaintances a simple “Hello (John)” is required.
If you begin a quick conversation with a friend or acquaintance ask them how they are and listen to the response.
When wanting to enter a room where the door is shut, knock first and then wait for a response.
Use a person’s name when addressing them.
Some simple manners that children sould be taught:
The words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ should be part of children’s everyday vocabulary.
Children shouldn’t interrupt a conversation unless it is an emergency. Children need to be taught when it is acceptable to use ‘excuse me’ so they can have your attention. If you know your child wants your attention, don’t make them wait too long before providing them with an opportunity to say ‘excuse me’.
School aged children should be talking in complete sentences – a pet hate from primary school teachers in all grades is students asking “I go toilet” – this is a statement, not a question and students will find that they will probably be ignored.
Manners are a dying form of etiquette, however, with good manners your child will be noticed in social situations, at school and in places of service, and they will be noticed for good reasons, so yes, it is worth putting a little effort into teaching your child good manners.