Do you get excited when you see or hear a child using good manners? I am thankful that many parents teach their children manners, but sometimes it seems like an outdated concept.
In trying to develop mannerly responses in our own daughters, I’ve come up with at least five phrases I want them to be in the habit of using.
1. Excuse me. Of all five phrases, this is the one I rarely hear. I find we use this most often when we’re in the grocery store and have to walk in front of another customer who’s perusing a shelf. If our children must walk between two people who are talking (which should be avoided if possible), I expect them to say “excuse me. Also, if it’s absolutely necessary to interrupt two people who are talking, we would use this phrase.
2. Thank you. This one is still fairly common, but can never be overused. Our children should use this not only when they’ve been given something, but also if someone has taken them on an outing or hosted them at a party or in their home. I know that it takes practice and many parental reminders in the beginning, but it’s rewarding when they finally get in the habit of saying “thank you” on their own!
3. You’re welcome. This is just nice to say when someone has thanked you for what you’ve done. Or, you can mimic Chick-fil-a and say “my pleasure” instead!
4. Please. Any time a child is asking for something, it’s good to say “please.” Like saying “thank you,” parents have to reinforce this one repeatedly when their child is young.
5. Bless You. I don’t know if this is just a southern thing or not, but I was always taught to say this when someone sneezes and I still think it’s a polite thing to do!
Do you have any other phrases that we should add to the list?
aurie good says
These are the same phrases that we are working on! I would add "I'm sorry" to the list, since that is one that people seem to brush off as well.
Yes, "I'm sorry" is an important one, too.
Hope your family has a calm, enjoyable day today!! 🙂
I want to bump up our "excuse me" quotient here, too1
I'm working on these phrases with my children, too, and I want to join Aurie in adding "I'm sorry." Of course, that one needs to be followed with "I forgive you" which is heard even less often these days than "Excuse me."
Your post reminds me of the time someone commented on how polite my children were, how they always said "please" when they asked for something. And I replied that they did that because I made them do it; I was trying to teach them politeness. I got the impression that she (and many others) think children already know these things and just choose not to use them. What do you think?
I agree with you. While it's certainly very important that we model politeness for our children, I don't think they're going to pick it up by just hearing and seeing us act that way. In order for it to become a habit with them, we have to teach them what to do and say and then reinforce it….over and over and over…. My girls and I even used to role play some of these things, i.e. how to introduce yourself to a stranger, how to shake hands and look someone in the eye, etc. Sounds like you must be doing a great job!
Oooh, I hadn't thought of role playing. My kids aren't very good at shaking hands and talking to adults at church. We should try some role playing. Thanks for the idea.