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The Importance of Teaching a Child Manners and Etiquette – “Blueberry’s Clubhouse”

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  • Monica Herrera
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In today's world, a well-mannered child will stand out for all the right reasons. Saying, "Please" and "Thank you," and using their table manners will leave a lasting positive impression in people’s minds, clearing them a path to succeed in their lives.

 

First things first: What is the difference between manners and etiquette?

 

As I explain it to my students when I start my program with them, the main difference is that manners are the way you behave so that people want to be around you (or not). If you have good manners, they will enjoy your company. If you have bad manners, they won’t. Easy as that.

 

Etiquette are rules that will help you develop good manners. Example: Introducing the new child from school to your friends is an act of kindness and a way to show your good manners. Learning the rules of introduction will help you to know how to do the introduction. Whose name should you introduce or address first? What should you do and say?

 

Two young African American girls in athletic gear and coats and two hispanic boys in jeans and t-shirts demonstrate handshaking and introduction in a colorful family living room

 

Etiquette will give you confidence and help you conduct yourself in a way that shows respect, consideration, thoughtfulness and kindness to others around you.

 

How early should you start teaching your child?

The earlier we teach them, the easier it will be. Once certain habits become ingrained, it’s difficult to rid ourselves of them. It will become second nature for your children when you begin early. Once they find themselves in a situation that requires them to be on their best behavior, they won’t have to think about what they are supposed to do. It will come naturally.

Focus on teaching by example and through direction, without relying on wordy explanations for why manners are important. At a young age, parents should simply strive to shape desirable behavior. When trying to instill good manners in their children, parents may feel like a broken record (me for sure – especially with four children) and that they’re not getting through to their kids but, in the end, it’s all worth it.

 

Set a good example for your child by using manners throughout the day and demonstrating kindness and respect for others. Teach polite words and phrases like “Please,” and “Thank You.”

Table Manners

Once a child is able to sit in a highchair and feed himself or herself, table manners training should begin. In today’s world in which we are all so busy with work and after-school activities, I know it’s difficult to sit together at the table to enjoy our meals, BUT eating dinner together as a family IS important for many reasons. It builds connection, relationships and gives each person a chance to be heard and understood.

Here are five things you can do to get started:

1.     Have your child help set the table with the proper place settings to familiarize dining layout.

2.     Hold utensils correctly. Don’t use your fork or spoon like a shovel or stab your food. Take a look at this post to get a better idea of how to go about this.

3.     Keep reminding your child to chew with their mouth closed at all times.

4.     Ask your child to only speak when all food has been swallowed.

5.     Instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you.

 

A young, brunette boy in a gray shirt with a walrus on it demonstrates proper and improper eating positions and cutting positions with cutlery

 

 

Your child will make a few etiquette mistakes every now and then, and your job is to correct those mistakes and move on. You must give your child the freedom to follow up on etiquette learning and grow with them.

 

I invite you to follow Proper Way Academy on Facebook or Instagram for more tips and ideas.

 

Monica Herrera-Hernandez holds her American School of Protocol diploma while shaking the hand of organization president Peggy Mansfield
About the author: Monica Herrera is the owner and instructor of Proper Way Academy, a place for children and adults to learn the Rules of Etiquette thru engaging lessons in the Northwest Arkansas area. Monica was born and raised in Mexico, and she has been fortunate to live in North America, Europe and Asia. This exposure to other cultures gave her the opportunity to experience firsthand the beauty and refinement found in different societies and customs around the world. She is certified as an Etiquette Instructor by the prestigious American School of Protocol.