For me, summer is a time when I have more time to focus on issues that need attending to in my children’s lives. If your children need help in the manners department (don’t they all?!) then our new summer series is for you. Every Monday we will have a simple tip for instilling gracious manners into your children.
A few months ago, I wrote a post that went viral called the 10 Tips for Gracious Adulting. It was in response to all the emails, DMs, and messages I receive about how many young adults are lacking basic etiquette skills.
But you know what? It’s much easier for people to learn gracious manners when they are young. Because manners are really habits that parents train throughout childhood.
We have a big job as mothers to raise gracious children and, y’all, it’s an ongoing process! Cotillion and manners classes are helpful, but I’ve found it takes continuous teaching, prompting and reminding for manners to become second nature for children. And for gracious manners to really stick around they need to come from a place of purpose.
So today’s first Mondays Manners lesson is really the foundation of the manners lessons to come and it’s quite simple:
Lesson # 1: Teach your children to consider others before themselves.
This is the foundation for why we teacher manners in our family. Our manners message is based on Philippians 2:3-4 where Paul says “in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” From the bagger at the grocery store to the headmaster of their school, my husband and I try to teach our children that everyone should be treated with respect and honor because they, too, were created by God in His image.
Whether you based your manners message on this or the Golden Rule or something else, having a purpose will show your children the why behind your expectations and most likely it’s not because you want perfect little robot children.
For young children we condense our manners message down to simple phrases like “put others first” and “think of others.” Having simple, repetitive phrases like this help when it comes to teaching and prompting the manners we will discuss in this series. For example:
It applies to sibling interaction and when they have friends over for playdates.
It applies to elderly people who are walking into the mall at the same time (“Let’s hold the door open for this nice lady!”).
It applies to family members not wanting to see the food in your son’s mouth while he speaks.
It even applies when you are having guests over for dinner and freshen up with clean clothes to honor their presence.
Now children don’t always know what it looks like to consider others before themselves (we have to be specific with younger ones) but it gives us something to go back to again and again as we raise gracious children.
Sweet mothers, I promise it’s not hard to raise gracious-mannered children if it becomes part of your family’s overall value system especially if incorporate the rest of my manners lessons!).
Stay tuned for next manners lesson. Subscribe here if you don’t want to miss all the simple children’s manners lessons this summer!
Photo: Brenna Kneiss