Grace & Courtesy for Children
Grace & Courtesy for Children
How do we teach our children to be kind, gracious, un-selfish? We’ve probably all seen a child throwing a tantrum in a store because their parent won’t buy them a toy. Or pitching a fit at another child’s birthday party because the birthday boy is getting presents and they aren’t. OR- at their own birthday party- opening a present from someone and saying they don’t like or want it. (especially when the gift giver is right there watching!).
Our children watch us consistently for their cues as to how to behave. They are largely unfiltered at young ages, so if they don’t like what they get- they will tell you! We need to be the ones who show them right from wrong, how to be polite, and how not to be polite when that is necessary.
I work with kids between the ages of 3-5. We have daily grace and courtesy lessons. Doesn’t mean we don’t have to review consistently, but we using teaching moments throughout the day as well. Here are a few things that you can review with your own child on a regular basis.
How to stand in a line- let’s face it– at some point- we all have to stand in lineups. So teach your child how to stand quietly in a line, without bumping into others, pulling hair, poking, etc.
How to wait for your turn to speak– hard for little ones, I know, but as they progress into school…they need to be able to listen. As they get older, the teaching becomes less about hands on, and more about listening to instructions and then following them. If they haven’t learned to listen when someone else is speaking, it gets much more difficult for them as they get older.
Inside Voice– my daughter was SO loud. Her regular volume was decibels above anyone elses. The number of times we had to talk about speaking just a little more quietly…I can’t even count them. But when you have a group of toddlers/pre-schoolers…and a couple that talk REALLY LOUD LIKE THIS…it makes for a frustrating and long day. (those of you with loud talkers know what I’m saying.)
How & when to say Thank you, Excuse me and I’m Sorry– We need to be the ones to help our children understand what’s appropriate, what’s acceptable, and when and how you use good manners. Offering help if someone needs it, saying “I’m sorry” if you accidentally hurt someone, etc. I had a student who last year was sweet and shy, this year he is much more outgoing and rambunctious. The other day, he shoved another little boy- and his mom sent him in with an apology note for the other boy that he had written after a big talk at home. Perfect, and great parenting! They need to know they have to take responsibility for their actions.
Charity & Giving – We are so very lucky to live where we do. We may not have everything we want, but we have clean water to drink, access to medical care, food and shelter. If we are lucky, we have good health. Teach your children what it is to be charitable, what it means to give- of money, of time. Show them what it looks like in other parts of the world, so they understand how fortunate they are.
This is my 11 year old. She had been growing her hair for well over 2 years. Despite some misgivings from her family (including me, I’m afraid- I loved her wild locks)- she decided to cut off all her hair and donate it to Angel Hair for Kids. It was all her- she knew what she wanted to do. Makes me very proud to be her mom.
Our kids are the ones who will be running the place eventually- picking out our nursing homes, running corporations, taking care of the planet. Let’s make sure we raise them to be kind, and good.