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February's Tips For Parents
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Good manners is so very important for all of us, but it is
especially important for blind and visually impaired students to make a good
impression in school, work and home environments. To that end, it is
recommended we all work together with out students to improve their manners in a
variety of situations. Below you will find some excellent suggestions that may
ISVI Social Worker
Is Your Child
by Mary Jesse
manners offer a lifetime of benefits. The rewards are too numerous to articulate
and the cost is negligible. Not many investments boast such a considerable
return. Parents are responsible for their children’s behavior. Fortunately,
there is much that parents can do to help their children avoid the consequences
of inconsiderate actions and harvest the considerable rewards for polite
This world would be a much more pleasant place if courtesy was prevalent. When
delivered with kindness and consideration, our words and actions are better
received. When we treat others well, we feel better about ourselves, our lives,
and those around us. Most importantly, we contribute to the happiness of those
around us rather than offending them or hurting them. Polite behavior allows us
to make and keep friends more easily. In fact, good manners make all
relationships better including those with family members, teachers, bosses and
On the flip side, poor manners may be the genesis of many childhood offenses
like bullying and vandalism, and also much of the poor behavior we see from
adults like road rage, foul language and crime. Habitual good manners could
determine the difference in life between success and failure. The benefits are
not limited to any particular age group, however, as with many valuable habits,
the path is much less arduous if you learn as a child. Sadly, learning polite
behavior to the point it becomes habitual is not in the mainstream of most
childhood development programs. Parents have to reinforce the desired behavior
each time their children are exposed to new sets of outside influences. The goal
is to have polite behavior become the norm for your child. They should learn to
expect polite behavior from others.
How can children be taught good manners? The most important aspect of educating
children is being a good role model. Young children, especially, learn much from
observation and mimicking. Exhibiting good manners simply means caring for other
people’s feelings. In formal terms, there are monarchial rules governing
“proper” behavior, but basic courtesy is a fine goal for most. If your manners
are a little slight, you might consider picking up a book at the library or
reading some online articles to brush up on tips for more polite behavior. Keep
in mind that building new habits as adults is more difficult than as children.
You must truly commit to a raised awareness level of other people’s feelings.
Children don’t want to be told, “don’t do this or that.” They want to observe
and learn and figure things out on their own. When you must intervene, redirect
their actions by pointing out polite behavior. “We share our toys.” “We treat
friends nicely.” Start planting the seeds as young as possible. The younger the
child, the more ingrained a good manner methodology will become in them. Discuss
good behavior and poor behavior examples in them and others when you have quiet
talk time at dinner or before bed. Learning manners is like learning a new
language or a musical instrument. At first, it sounds inconsistent and rough,
but over time with practice, a smooth melody brings pride and happiness. Once
you’ve gained new knowledge and enthusiasm for this important area of your
child’s education, perhaps you can volunteer at your child’s school to talk
about manners or read a book and lead a manners discussion. Teachers, more than
most, appreciate efforts to better educate children on good manners.
What are good manners anyway? Most people would be able to recite the standard
“please” and “thank you,” but fall short after that. What more is there to know?
Here is a short list of manners you can review with your child (excerpts from
the book, “Abbey & Friends™ M is for Manners”):
* Be nice to people.
* Say “Please” when you ask for something.
* Say “Thank You” when you are given something.
* Say “You’re Welcome” when someone thanks you.
* Greet people when you see them.
* Look people in the eyes when you talk to them.
* Talk politely during meals (even in the cafeteria).
* Don’t interrupt when other people are talking.
* Share with others.
* Help people.
* Let guests go first.
* Be on time, especially if you are meeting someone.
The gift of kindness and consideration is one that cannot be measured easily. I
know of no parent that does not notice polite behavior in other people’s
children and want that for their own children. Put time and effort into making
courteous behavior a habit of everyone in your household. It is part of the
foundation upon which happy families are built.
Mary Jesse, a wife and mother of three sons, resides in the Seattle area. She
holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering and several
technology-related patents. She is the author of “Abbey & Friends™ M is for
Manners” (ISBN 0972995803, Hexagon Blue, 2003) and “Real World Guide™ to
Happiness” (ISBN 0972995811, Hexagon Blue, 2003). She writes and speaks on
parenting, happiness, motivation, business, management and technology. For more
www.hexagonblue.com or email mailto:
This article provided by the Family Content Archives at:
Birth to 3 Program
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