So often I have come across mothers dropping their children to school and when you wish the child, good morning, the mother prompts the child, “say, good morning”, without giving the child the required space and time to process the social interaction and without realising it these mothers have made social interaction a boring process which just needs to be completed, rather than an enjoyable interaction.
It is important that children grow up with social smartness, or what we commonly call ‘people skills’, as getting along with people is half the battle won and social interaction is a human need so it makes people happy when we interact, have fun, exchange ideas and are liked by others, it boosts our confidence, self esteem and gives us that small bounce in our steps!
So inculcating inter personal intelligence in children is beneficial to their future success, parents and schools must focus on developing this intelligence.
It starts with the preschool years. It starts with small little interactions and what we call manners. How to eat, how to sit, how to talk, what to say, when to say, what to do, are all an integral part of this understanding. Here parents and teachers need to remember that manners are not what we do only when someone is watching us but manners are what we do when someone is not watching us. Yes, this is the important difference, so if you have to always prompt your child to say good morning, or thank you it only means that the child has not understood the value of these words and is just repeating them to please you.
Teach them words like ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ by referring to them as the magic words or the magic keys that help you do things with ease, as soon as you say these words, people smile, and make you happy so are they not magic words?
It is important that parents find out from the school the kind of techniques and methods that the school is using in the teaching of manners and social skills, so that parents can teach the same at home, this will help children pick up the social skills faster.
As adults we need to be conscious of our own manners and social skills, do we say ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘sorry’ enough?
Another important point especially in the teaching of the word ‘sorry’ is to see that it is used in the right context. Saying ‘sorry’ is about meaning it, feeling it and never repeating that act again. It is not just about saying the word and moving on. This is what we are teaching our children today. As soon as one child hits another we promptly ask them to say ‘sorry’ and the child does just that says ‘sorry’, moves on and hits another child. So he/she has understood that sorry is required to be said after one hits or harms, so it is not the hitting or harming that is bad but not saying the ‘sorry’!
We also need to be sensitive about the rhymes and stories that we expose our children to; maybe we can change them a little or add some elements of manners in them especially if the child is at the stage of learning social skills. There is a favourite fairy tale, Goldilocks and the three bears, where Goldilocks takes what she wants, does what she wants, spoils the bears home and then when they come home instead of saying sorry she just runs away! Now, is that good manners? So here is a story that is a good discussion topic of what magic words should Goldilocks have used.
So thank you for reading this article, sorry if it has been a little long and please see that children enjoy the magic of manners!