Proper Etiquette Never Goes Out of Style – And It’s Never Too Early to Start With Your Kids

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It’s sad but true – many of today’s youth have stopped practicing much of the social etiquette the rest of us grew up with.

And with the ways personal communication has changed in a world dominated by a digital presence, it’s even harder for parents to combat the informality and lack of manners so often seen these days.

But it’s never too late – and never too early – to teach our kids the basics when it comes to manners and etiquette, and it can be done easily as part of your daily routine.

In today’s world of social media, rampant negativity seems to reign supreme.  Everyone has gotten used to sharing their opinions – often negative — and every thought that pops into their heads.

Communication has changed drastically in the last decade, and it seems as if people have forgotten how to interact with one another in person — and in a civilized manner.

For those of us raised before the development of smartphones, social media, (or even computers and cable!), we can remember how important it was for our parents and teachers to help us learn these valuable skills.

No culture or society is without their troubles, but it seems that the behavior of the human race has gotten out of control…

We’re surrounded by crude and vulgar language on TV, all over social media, and when we’re out in public.  We’ve become a society of “me first.”

And it’s our responsibility to teach our children now that good manners and proper etiquette never go out of style.

So here are a few of the big ones, apart from teaching our kids how to say “please” and “thank you” from the time they begin to talk.

By incorporating manners and etiquette into the little things we do every day, it’s easy to give our kids a good foundation – and these lessons will last a lifetime, improving their character and reputation from grade school, to their interpersonal relationships, to their careers.

One of the most important impressions we make on people – especially when we meet them for the first time – is based on our manners.

Courtesy, respect, and being polite in general can take us all a long way.

Early on, we can teach – and model – these skills to our children within the home.

Our children are always watching, and they see how we react to our neighbors, how we treat the employees of businesses when running errands, and our tone when speaking on the phone.

As they get older, we can guide them on the best approaches to dealing with situations they may encounter with friends and peers.

Among these are keeping negative opinions to themselves, addressing authority figures with respect, not interrupting anyone who is speaking (taking turns for younger ones), and never criticizing others’ opinions or appearance.

The Golden Rule is an important one, and it provides a good starting point for how to behave and treat others.

We can also model to them how to properly introduce themselves, initiate conversations, and ask for assistance in a positive way that will garner the result they’re looking for.  Like the old saying goes, “You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.”

These are some of the crucial items of etiquette that will help them go far in life in a social regard, but there are also the more concrete ones that are also all-important…

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Table manners, holding the door open for those behind them, shaking hands and making eye contact, and sitting quietly and appearing engaged during assemblies, recitals, or public events – even when they have no interest in the topic.

With all the negativity we’ve seen this year, on the news and all over social media, it’s more important than ever to give our kids a solid foundation on how to conduct themselves with civility and decorum.

These character traits truly are skills that can be learned early and honed through practice and daily use.

And the best way to instill them is to model them in our own daily lives, in the way we speak to them and others, and with repetition and encouragement.

Teachers, employers, customer service representatives, and the ordinary people we meet each day are far more likely than not to react in a positive and helpful way when greeted with respect and manners.

And these skills will give them an advantage throughout their lives — in every encounter they have with others — for a lifetime of success.  They’ll be more confident and self-aware and know how to appropriately handle any situation that comes their way.

Manners and etiquette don’t have to be left to the history books.  If we act now with our own children, these vital skills will be passed on for generations to come.

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