"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." -- Emily Post
I totally agree with Ms. Post on this: basics of navigating a dinner table aside, good manners are about interacting with others. It's noticing, hey, there are other people in this world aside from me and they should be thought about too.
Number one reason why should we teach our kids good manners? It will make our world a better place so they all don't grow up to be ill-mannered adults. When you think about it, it goes hand in hand with another prime reason too. It's a bit selfish, but selfishly born out of love for your kid.
You teach your kids manners because, let's face it, kids (and adults) with good manners are liked. No other kid is going to want to play with a kid who is rude or can't share or isn't kind. As they get older, your child, with good manners, will go farther than a person who wasn't taught the importance of good manners. Period. Providing your child guidance and knowledge about manners and enforcing good manners, well, that's helping their social life skills.
So, what kinds of manners should we be teaching? Of course there are the usuals -- pleases and thank yous, you're welcomes and excuse mes and all that. But there are a few others that I've found I need to work on with Kiddo (she's six, remember). One of the main ones is tackling some more sophisticated table manners, like staying at the table during dinner. This is a biggie for us. Many kids are fast eaters, or they don't get caught up as much with conversation as we adults do, so they finish faster...and then want to leave. Waiting to be excused, making dinner table chit-chat, learning to be a good dining companion are all key manners she will use for the rest of her life.
What are the main manners you are working on these days with your kids?
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