In society, we expect people to be polite. Here are five words and phrases that children need to be taught at a very early age, to make a positive impact in society and to demonstrate good manners. Adults could also stand to have a refresher, to help them be good role models.
Say, "Hello" when you greet someone. Even "Hi" is acceptable. Some small children may prefer to give a wave, but should be encouraged to use their words. A hand should be extended to shake as another part of the greeting. Many people like to also say, "How are you?" If you say that, remember that it is a question, and you will get an answer. Acknowledge the answer. When the conversation has come to an end, say "Goodbye." It can be appropriate to give another handshake at this time, as well.
Always use "please" when requesting an item or an action from someone. If you want the child to actually do what you have said, be sure to phrase it in a statement, instead of a question. Saying, "Bring me the book, please," is more likely to illicit a response than asking, "Can you please bring me that book?" Asking the question opens up the possibility for the child to say, "No." To help the child remember to say "Please," do not perform the request until she says it. Give her a hint if she needs it. Reward use of good manners by fulfilling the request.
Whenever someone gives you something, or does something you want, say, "Thank you." These simple words of acknowledgment show appreciation. Kids also love to make thank you cards and pictures to show gratitude.
When someone says "Thank you," the appropriate response is to say, "You're welcome." It acknowledges the received thanks, and should be accompanied by a smile.
When you have wronged someone, you should say, "I'm sorry." Sometimes you do not realize that you have done something to offend someone else. But remember to only say it if you truly mean it. Never force a child to say that he is sorry. Too often, children think that those two words automatically negate anything they have done, and use it even when they don't mean it. Teach children to not only say it, but act on it by not repeating the infraction.
Children can start practicing these words and good manners as soon as they start speaking. They can even use sign language before they speak to start demonstrating the sentiments. It is imperative that adults constantly model these words and actions. Children mimic what they see, not necessarily what they are told.
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