by Manali Desai
Sometime back while in Surat, an incident happened with me, and it has stuck with me till now. It will stay with me forever I think. While trying to cross a street, a small kid, about 5-6 years of age, came and asked me very politely, “Can you help me cross the road, please”? My heart melted instantly, I grabbed his tiny fingers and helped him cross the road. After we had safely reached the other side, he let go of my hand, looked up at me, smiled cutely and said again in his polite tone, “Thank you so much”, and ran away inside the gates of the nearest building. I was so in awe at his maturity and the level of politeness being instilled in him at such a tender age, that then and there I decided to raise my child like that. To be playful but polite, a little naughty but respectful of elders.
We develop an instant liking to those children, who are well behaved and well mannered, don’t we? Nobody likes a child who grumbles, argues or cries all the time, that too in public. I have seen children embarrass parents because of their bad behavior. They just don’t listen. What then is the answer or solution to this?
But what are the qualities in a child that make him/her unlikable to elders as well as children? Do we have a list of good manners? Let’s understand this by listing down the top manners and etiquette a child should be taught to cultivate by the age of 5.
1. STP- The three magical words “Sorry”, “Thank you” and “Please”
From an early age, they should be taught these words and their importance. “Sorry” to admit and realize their mistakes, “Thank you” to someone who has done a favor and “Please” when asking someone for a favor. Teach them these, and it’ll remain an honored habit in them for lifetime and not just during their growing up years.
2. Ask before using someone else’s things
This, I believe is a bad habit in some elders as well. Why is it wrong, you ask? Because you do not have the ownership rights and hence the usage rights are also not yours. Teaching your child this virtue is important because only then will the coming generation be better than ours.
3. Do not interrupt someone when they are speaking
Do you like it when someone doesn’t allow you to speak? No, right? Similarly your child should also learn not to do this. Studies show that most relationships turn sour because the two people involved either never communicated or because one of them did not allow the other to speak his/her mind. We do not want our children to face that now, do we?
4. Speak your mind out, BUT- don’t be rude
Letting the child have a mind and thinking of his own is definitely good for his mental, social and emotional development. But this has to be molded too. In our drive to give them freedom we might give them liberty to do hurtful things as well. Allowing them to speak their mind, will have a transparency in the communication but could also lead them on to take things for granted. And frankly nobody likes a rude child.
5. Table manners rules
Having children over for dinner is an absolute nightmare if they’re loud, uncouth and dirty while eating their food. They should be trained not only on how to use the cutlery, but also how to behave during the meal. Right from chewing with mouths closed to eating in silence, all this matters.
There are many more here that can be spoken of like covering your mouth while sneezing, the habit of sharing, knocking on the door before entering someone’s room, being kind to others, respecting elders and so on. But, I feel that if those critical ones (as mentioned above) are practiced (or become a part of your child’s day-to-day life/lifestyle), then rest can follow. Hence, let’s strive to make our little ones better humans.. better than we are. Only then, we as humans will evolve.
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