Remember to use the Magic Words
My daughter asked if she was allowed to have a milo after school on day and I said, "What's the magic word" without even thinking about the question. I stopped what I was doing for a moment and I waited for the response...
I turned back to what I was doing, believing that I am not going to encourage poor manners, she could come back in five minutes and try again.
Five minuted later passes in Mum time (So that would be when I had finished what I was working on) and I looked to my daughter again.
"Mum, can I please have a milo?" She repeated the question.
I nodded my approval and tried my best to restrain myself from saying was that so hard?
Manners are a way of acting, bearing or behaviour according to dictionary.com. A pout after being told to do something could be considered bad manners. Alternatively a smile and a nod could be considered Thanks. My home was not the most religious household on the block, but I would say that we had to follow some old school rules when it came to manners. Children were to respect their elders at all times, you always said the four magic words (please, thank you, you're welcome and I'm sorry) without prompting. Good manners was something that was expected and punishments would vary depending on how far out of line you were.
Other examples of manners were, you would not but in on an adult conversation. Personal space was to be respected. You closed the door behind you if you were the last person in, or when leaving the room. You would clear the table if you were the last to finish dinner. Always say good night before going to bed.
I have tried as the kids have been growing up to share the same level of manners with them, as a sign of respect. I know that there is a tiny part of me that thinks that some of the older forms of manners don't hold true this day in age, but I am not really sure about that. I think that if you consider the reason manners are important and you have meaning behind the words that you are saying, it is just as true now as it was in 1857.
When you ask for something nicely from someone, you are showing that you will not take it without asking and you respect their decision to say yes or no. You in turn give the power back to the child by saying thank you for asking nicely. It is letting them know that you appreciate their kindness and use of manners.
You're welcome although it is still one of the many words it has been in contention over the last few years. It had become and automated response to thank you, without the depth and understanding needed for those words. Looking someone in their eyes and saying, 'you are welcome, I know you would have done the same to me' can mean the world to someone.
The last of the magic words, I'm sorry is admitting that you have done something wrong and you will work on not letting it happen again. If it is something that you say because you think that you have to, does it really have the same meaning. I have encouraged the kids to expand on their I'm Sorry with a summary of what they had done and a promise that they will not intentionally do it again.
Thank you for reading this article. I would appreciate your thoughts on what Manners look like in your home and how you have helped your children how to show their best manners.
When I see other children using their manners in public I like to say how nice it is. If you were raised to say the four magic words (please, thank you, your welcome and I'm sorry) share that kindness with the world.
Prompt the children if necessary as it is mostly about habit and all habits can easily fall out of practice. Some times a simple reminder every now and then is all you need.
Treasure the gift of manners in your home and you will be spreading this free gift with the world.
Children using your manners without being prompted at home and while venturing out is something to be proud of. It all starts at home, so make sure that you reward them for their efforts.
If you have to prompt the child all the time then take a warning chip. You would be surprised that it might bring manners into their fore thoughts.