Do you often hear people say that chivalry is dead, and that kids have no respect for their elders these days? While we wouldn’t say that’s completely true, we can admit that somewhere along the way, some basic manners may have fallen by the wayside.
As the decades pass, it feels like manners that were once the norm have become a bit overlooked. Nowadays it’s more like “keep your iPhone off the table” instead of “keep your elbows off the table” (and more than likely, the iPhone remains anyway). You get our drift.
Here are some of the long lost “forgotten” manners that you may want to teach your child from the beginning. You’re sure to raise a civilized human being!
Close your mouth when you chew.
Can’t you just hear your grandmother preaching this to you as you quickly close your mouth when smacking your cereal? There are few things more gross than watching someone’s food be chewed up in their mouths as they’re eating (or talking for that matter). It might feel natural for the child to chew with their mouth open or not realize they’re doing it, so it’s important to teach them this young so they can get used to it.
Say “excuse me.”
There are many instances when someone should say “excuse me”—for instance, when someone’s in your line of walking and they don’t see you coming, when you need the attention of an elder right away and they’re in the middle of a conversation, or if you bump into someone accidentally. Saying “excuse me” can help ease any of these situations to ensure you’re being polite.
Hold the door.
It’s important to teach children not just to hold the door for people, but more importantly, to look to see if someone’s coming and then hold the door if someone’s near. Who doesn’t appreciate when the door is held open for them? Along the same lines, boys should be taught at a young age to open the car door for a lady—it may sound old school, but a woman will always appreciate it.
Don’t talk with your mouth full.
How many times do your child stuff their mouth with pancakes only to ask for the syrup as they’re chewing? Teach them to wait to speak until all their food has been swallowed. If someone asks them a question while they’re chewing, they can signal to their mouth that they’re chewing, which will tell the person asking the question that they’ll respond when they’re done chomping.
Keep a napkin on your lap.
Remember when your parents used to tell you to place a napkin in your lap to catch any dropped food? Teach your kids the same thing—and to dab their face with it if they happen to get anything on their face. It’s much more polite that wiping their mouth with their shirt sleeve or leaving a dirty napkin on the table.
Elbows off the table.
As we said earlier, elbows, iPods, toys, whatever it is—they’re not to be on the table when a meal is being served. There’s a time and place for it all, just not at the dinner table!
Ask to be excused from the table.
As for more table manners, it’s courteous to ask if you can be excused from the table when you’re done. It’s can be a bit disrespectful to leave a table when the meal isn’t complete, especially if someone just spent time cooking the meal you just ate. Chances are, if you asked to be excused, you’ll always get a “yes” verses if you just leave, you’ll be seen as rude.
Take your shoes off when entering a home.
Even if the homeowner doesn’t ask you to, it’s seen as polite to remove your shoes that might be dirty before trekking through their likely just-washed floors. If you don’t feel comfortable taking off your shoes right away, teach your kids to at least always ask if the host would like them to.
Say please and thank you.
One of the most obvious, yet forgotten manners: Always say “please” when you want something and “thank you” after receiving it. Also feel free to teach your kids that you can never say “please” and “thank you” too many times!
What do you think of these long lost manners? Have you forgotten any? Do your kids know to do these things? What kinds of manners do you teach your children in the modern world?