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Could teaching our children courtesy, manners, consideration, and respect help to alleviate bullying?
In these days of “road rage,” vicious mud-slinging political campaigning all over the media, pervasive violence in media and other “entertainment,” what can we do to foster compassion, empathy, and consideration in our children?
First of all, we can keep in mind that “actions speak louder than words.” Parents modeling considerate, courteous behavior at all times to all people is probably the most powerful influence on our children’s behavior. Do you make disparaging remarks about or use disrespectful names for certain groups of people or gossip about individuals in front of your children? Be mindful of what you say, even unintentional utterances.
It may sound old-fashioned, but actively teaching your children about courtesy and manners is perhaps the best way to encourage them to become compassionate, empathetic, and considerate human beings.
From a practical standpoint, teaching your children manners, says Rudebusters.com, “gives them ‘lifelong survival skills’ according to one etiquette expert. In fact, kids who don’t have social graces are likely to have a more difficult time with friends, family, and teachers." Today’s Parent offers advice for parents who want their kids to have some degree of civility. Anything you can do to help your child learn essential social skills like peaceful conflict-resolution and relationship-building, will help them to become more successful, productive, and happy in the long run.
I’m sure many of us remember growing up being constantly “reminded” by our parents to “say please and thank you,” “shake hands with Uncle John,” “hold the door open for Grandma,” etc. Is it possible to encourage good manners without having to nag our children constantly? Well, fortunately there are many helpful online resources to show us the way. A Google search for “teaching manners to children” will reveal a wealth of useful links including fun games and songs to make learning manners enjoyable for you and your kids. Here are few to get you started:
- RudeBusters: A safe haven from rudeness, rage and stress
- The Natural Child Project: many useful resources for parents and educators
- The Manners Club: games and songs
- Blunders Makes Learning Manners Fun!: Board Game and Manner Mats™
- Parenting Magazine: article on learning manners
- Squidoo: 10 Table Manners Your Kids Should Learn
Do your children’s Monday morning moods seem to last till Friday morning? Well, you are not alone. The glazed over eyes, known as the “look,” and unemotional tone is not because your children are lazy. They are just tired. Early school times and lack of sleep cause children to be pretty grumpy in the morning.
Lack of sleep also makes children less interested in eating breakfast, which is said to be the most important meal of the day. Children would rather get a few extra minutes of sleep instead of waking up early to eat breakfast. The Scholastic website tells parents children need fuel for their brain, and that fuel is food. Food provides the energy necessary to have a productive day. Scholastic also provides a helpful list of breakfast foods to start your child’s day.
Help your children out by buying breakfast food they can eat on the go, or have something waiting for them when they come to the kitchen. Instead of giving them a bowl of cereal filled with sugar, try giving them a healthier option. Some quick, healthy breakfast options are yogurt with fresh fruit and wheat germ (a healthy substitute for granola), a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter, or a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of fat-free skim milk.
Sleep for Kids, a service of the National Sleep Foundation, says children need 10-11 hours of sleep every night. The website also gives a good list of tips to help students get a healthy amount of sleep, such as removing TVs and computers from their bedrooms. Games, movies, and TV shows are addictive. When these items are not monitored, children may waste hours of much needed sleep on technology. LDA of Michigan did an interesting study on the effects of children watching TV before bed. The study proved that kids are more likely to stay up late when they have a television or video console in their bedroom. Help remove the distractions, so your children will get a good night’s rest.
Mornings may not be the best time to have a deep conversation with your children because they are not fully awake, so don’t make matters worse by trying to force conversations on major topics and lots of questions. Dinner time and later in the evening is a better time for deep conversation.
Support your children’s education by teaching them time management. Give them set times to watch TV and play video games, or make sure all their homework is done before they spend time on these activities.
Your children’s education is very important-especially at a young age, so help them perform at their full potential. A simple good night’s rest, and a full belly in the morning will truly affect how a child performs in school.