From a social animal to a social being, man has surely come a long way since his cave dwelling days. It took us nearly 2000 years of evolution to chalk out the right social protocols but it is necessary to inscribe most of these into the psyche of our children in their first few years.
Kids today with a slew of attention grabbing, slick, savvy toys have a hard time grasping some of the most basic rules of social behaviour. They have a harder time distinguishing between environments like home or outside home.
Table manners are on the top of the priority list along with the “Thank You's” and “Pleases.” While growing up children often seek to mimic their environment, so burping, belching, farting on the part of the senior folk at the table is strictly taboo. While kids often make cute little games out of the otherwise boring lunch, they should not be encouraged, make sure that throwing food and spitting food etc. are a strict ‘No!’.
If as an adult you do goof up, beg pardon with a polite and sheepish ‘Excuse me'. If you treat the accidental burp or belch as a joke you've unwittingly create a precedent which could come back to haunt you at dinner at a relative's place.
Other basic rules for kids include not screaming, shouting, aggression around guests and other kids, post which you progress to lessons on – ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Goodbye’. Also start early on lessons on sharing sweets and toys with others. While with a slew of preschools that try to mould your children into sweet little angels, you as parent too have a role to play.
While the teachers at school teach your baby the words, the kids constantly assess their parent's actions to validate these lessons. Never forget, good manners begin at home and should be taught by parents. Here is a list of the most elementary guidelines:
• Be Polite - A lesson in politeness goes a long way in the social development of your little baby.
• Treat them with respect -Never infantilise your kid any more than he/she needs. It is advisable to treat your children as individuals at the earliest and even though monitored. Give them the freedom of speech.
• Lead the way - In their early age children are learning to express themselves, they cry, they scream causing a socially awkward evening. Always lead by example and always encourage good behaviour by giving sweets etc
• Be the model parent -It is hard to expect your kid to be the model baby. Take up the challenge and be the model parent too. Always say please and thank you, apologize, and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
• Share - Always share items with your child and constantly remind them of this practice. Make sure they perceive sharing as a positive behaviour by complimenting them each time they share with friends.
Applaud good behaviour - Praise for every positive action only strengthens their gentle disposition. Be vocal about how proud you are of your children and cement these virtues. Ensure good health - A medical ailment, lack of sleep or food makes children uneasy and a little cranky. Make sure they get plenty of sleep and rich nutritious food.