True parenting is in the hands of mom and dad. Values, ethics and norms are passed on and cultivated. You raise your children your way.
Childcare, primary education and secondary education have one common denominator: Etiquette.
You greet on arrival, you say thanks for a present, you say sorry when you burp by accident, you wash your hands after visiting the toilet, you clean up your mess, keep appointments, etc etc. Etiquette is an expensive word for pleasant interaction with each other. People simply respond more nicely to each other when the pleasantries that have been mentioned are met.
The most obvious topic in terms of etiquette are actually table manners. Stay at the table until everyone is ready, don’t talk with a full mouth, start eating when everyone has been served, eat neatly with a knife and fork. Very simple things that everyone knows. But what can you expect from a young child?
A young child learns, discovers and experiments all day long. The principles are taught at home as well as in childcare. There is a place and time for everything. However, a child can unintentionally ‘disturb’ people and that is easy to avoid. Don’t take him/her to a restaurant where sitting still for long periods of time and being calm is the norm. Then you ask way to much from your child. Just let your child be a child. Spend time in the right environment so your son/daughter can simply be.
Still, you can’t start early enough with etiquette. Young children are very flexible. Teenagers no more. Good manners may not be very noticeable, but lack of manners even more!
What to do? As soon as your child starts to talk or can wave, we teach by example and show how to use this when you leave somewhere. You wave ánd say goodbye. Kids love to do the right things. Teach by consistently leading by example. Compulsion doesn’t work. Compliments and even humor works much better! Especially with toddlers.
For example, keep showing how to hold and handle a spoon. He/she will eventually master it. Especially in company that can already eat properly. Eating with peers. Patience is a virtue.
Until next time,