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Etiquettes are essential for your child

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Etiquette according to Management Study Guide is simply defined as good behaviour which distinguishes human beings from animals. Professional childcare giver and mum, Ugochi Mba, sees etiquette as basic things needed to be well behaved. Etiquette for children is therefore the basic things/good manners children need to imbibe so they can turn out well as adults.

“Etiquette teaches children how to behave in the society so it is pertinent that children are made to observe etiquette. If parents don’t teach their children these things, they may learn it from others and it may not exactly be the good ones.”

Most parents want their children to know how to act, but many are not even sure of where or when to start. Etiquette should be taught at a very early age because once bad habits form, they are difficult to change.

This brings us to the question of when exactly. At about 12-18 months, kids begin to understand that there are certain socially acceptable habits. For instance, when they cough with their mouth open, a stare from an adult tells them they should have done something else like cover their mouth. So, it is never too early to start teaching children basic etiquette. If as a parent, your child is past that age and you have not started, it is not too late.

Mba who holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) and offers home service creche, stressed that children should imbibe etiquette such as using courteous words like; “Please”,”Thank You”, “I am sorry” and so on. They should learn to greet when they see anyone. This makes them grow with these as part of their lives.

“Now, the best way to even teach children etiquette is by modelling it. As a parent, if you practice these socially acceptable behaviours, your children see you do it and learn from you because they are mainly influenced by what they see. Parents as first teachers of their children should practice these etiquette.

“You even bond with your children while teaching them basic manners. This type of bonding enhances parenting because you spend more time with your children. You even get to see how they respond to some courteous acts.”

The mum of one, who has a forte in early childhood education where she offers training to people and has worked with numerous children over the years, said that teaching etiquette is not the sole responsibility of the mother as both parents should do this collectively and individually.

This is simply because the children belong to both parents and one parent cannot know it all. It is better they learn from home than from outsiders.Children learn to be respectful, responsible, caring, loving, compassionate among other things while they imbibe etiquette and practice daily.

Mba added that it is important to discuss with your child to come up with ways they are comfortable with practicing on how to be polite to future friends. “Teach your child to smile and to greet others. Explain that they can get to know people by asking them how their day is going, or by talking about something they are doing at school together or how they did their home-work at home.

“Let them also know that using the five basic courtesy words- please, excuse me, sorry, thank you and pardon me, will not make them less humans, but rather lovely kids everyone will like to be associated with.

“Etiquette or manners is such an important lifelong skill for your children to learn. Not only does it display good behaviour, but it also prepares children for future events, jobs, among others in the adult world.

“Their etiquette will set them apart from the crowd; and teach selflessness (being polite and putting others first). Plus, a child with good manners is confident and respectful, ready to take on the world. This is not a one-off thing, so consistency, practice and patience is key,” Mba said.


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