Today I thought I'd start a new short series focusing on things you can teach your children to help them live graciously and happily.
The first topic we'll look at is manners. Most parents I know are very good at the "magic words" part of manners -- saying please and thank you. But manners is that and more. Let's look at some basic manners every child should master:
- Setting a table with more than the basic utensils and knowing how to use those utensils. Now, your kids likely don't need to know how to deal with a shrimp fork and a finger bowl, but a salad fork should not be a mystery.
- Proper table manners in general: holding one's fork properly, using forks instead of fingers (except when appropriate), taking small enough bites that you don't look like a chipmunk preparing for winter, staying seated at the table (without a cell phone or tablet) until excused.
- Knowing how to properly greet people of their own age and their elders, how to shake hands firmly but not crushingly and to look people in the eye.
- How to welcome and introduce new people.
- How to share.
- How to receive a compliment or a gift graciously. And how to write a thank you for that gift. (If a child can hold a crayon, s/he can write a thank you. Until words are in the repertoire, a thank you drawing is fabulous.
- How to wait their turn to talk, to listen to others as they speak, and to refrain from interrupting apart from emergencies.
What other manners do folks (young and old) need to know?