Teach your Child to be an Etiquette Superstar!

Written by Debbi Spiegel  |  28. June 2013

School is out and we are in the carefree days of summer.  Having good manners should be practiced year round.  Teach your child to become a polite and respectful etiquette superstar.

Children love knocking on doors and ringing doorbells -- often too many times. When the doors are finally opened, kids usually barge right in without saying "Hi" or being asked to enter. It may be okay to go into a close relative's house without waiting, but it would not be okay at someone else's house.

Practice how to address adults by their proper titles (Mr., Mrs., or Dr., and last names) with your child through role-playing. Pretend to be different people and have your child respond to an introduction with correct titles and pleasantries. The next time you're in a social setting, your child should be comfortable greeting an adult.

Some kids get very comfortable at a friend's or relative's house, and immediately run up to a friend's room, the backyard, or another part of the house without permission first. Even if it's just at Grandma's house, your child should wait for directions on where to go and avoid running or jumping around indoors.

Children love to explore other people's pantries and refrigerators, and they cannot resist asking a hostess if she baked cookies like last time. If refreshments haven't been offered right away, remind your child that it's polite to wait instead of asking right away for something.

At the dinner table, ask the kids to stay seated through the whole meal, unless they have asked permission to leave. If they have a hard time staying seated, set a timer and increase the time by three minutes every day. You can reinforce good behavior with a reward. It may feel comfortable and natural to rest your elbows on the table during a meal, but it's considered improper etiquette. This is a tough one even for adults, but try leading by example. Explain to your kids that hands belong on the utensils, in the lap, or at the side of the body when not eating.

Have confidence that all of your reminders will pay off and you will have well mannered children.

Please share your tips on teaching your children good manners on LongIsland.com's Parenting Forum.

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