Going Back to the Manners You Learned in Kindergarten
Sometimes throughout our busy day, from the time we first wake up and get the kids up, make breakfast, get them ready for school, go to work or begin the work day at home, make dinner, take kids to their sports or lessons, and then put the kids and yourself to bed, we can sometimes get too busy to remember the basics of manners.
It's easy to forget to say "thank you" to the grocery store check-out person or "please" to your kids before asking them to do something, or even forget to share your pack of gum with your co-workers in the meeting.
The question is.... how can we expect our children to have great manners when they don't see us living them every day?
Children learn their behaviors more by example than they do by us just telling them what to do. For example, I don't always make my bed every day, and as a result, neither do my kids despite my constant reminding. If we can go back to the basics of manners and live them ourselves, we will be able to teach our children to have nice manners which will translate into them being respectful, courteous, and polite children and adults.
Top 5 Manners We Learned in Kindergarten
1. Say "Please" and "Thank you". Imagine how much more effective and successful we will be when we use these two little words with our kids, spouse and co-workers. Everyone responds better to someone who says, "Could you please hand me the pencil? Thank you." Instead of, "Give me the pencil." If we expect our kids to use these words, they need to hear us say them too.
2. Listen. While this may seem easy, it really has become a lost art. We are texting when our spouse is talking to us. We aren't making eye contact with our kids when they're telling us about their day, and sometimes we are so rushed at work that we don't really listen to our co-workers or customers. Try to make an effort to look people in the eyes when they are talking to you and put away your cell phone, give visual cues that you are listening like nodding your head, and then respond appropriately. Really listening to someone shows respect, helps build the relationship, and will ultimately help you too.
3. Say You're Sorry. If you do something wrong at work or at home, the quickest way to defuse the anger or problem is to honestly say that you're sorry. Saying something like, "You're right, I should not have xxxx and I'm really sorry", will make things so much better than being defensive, blaming, or making excuses.
4. Use Your Words. When you get frustrated do what we tell our kids to do and "use your words' with an "indoor voice." Instead of losing it and yelling or freaking out, try instead to take a deep breath and calmly and with a soft voice say very clearly what you are mad about, frustrated with, or need. You will be more effective this way and will set a much better example for your children!
5. Play Nice. We tell our kids to show respect and talk and play nicely to others. So why is it then that some adults don't do these things themselves? I hear people all the time showing a lack of respect to others by talking badly behind their back, gossiping about them, and not doing or saying the things they should to show basic respect. And, I don't believe writing nasty comments about others online via social media is a way of "playing nice" either. Just because we can write mean stuff without having to look the person in the eyes doesn't mean it's right. The internet and social media are tools not weapons! Let's live by the example of "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."
If we can all go back to the basics of the manners we learned in kindergarten, we will be better role models for our children and we will be better people for it. Taking the time to smell the roses and say "please and thank you" to those around us are great lessons to live by and teach our children.
If you have an etiquette question please leave a comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information and videos on manners can be found on my website at www.FinesseWorldwide.com. For information on my upcoming modern cotillion class in Huntersville for 5th - 8th graders please click here.