First impressions are important. As a parent you need to teach your child how to make a good impression. The key is etiquette for children.
A proper greeting shows confidence and maturity. Teach your child to address people they meet by their title and name. Making eye contact is an important etiquette too. You can teach your child how to greet people by giving yourself a name and pretending to meet your child. Have your child practice saying, "Hello, Mr. Hansen," and looking you in the eye. Remind them that they need to use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. and not an adult's first name unless requested to use it.
In our society handshakes are used unlike the kisses that dominate European society. So it is an important etiquette for children to learn how to shake hands. Typically a person extends their right hand the one they use most often. For left-handers like my son, it is harder to remember that people shake with their right. Practice with your child so that they don't grip too hard (it's not a contest) or too soft (there should be some actual gripping) but right in between.
Please and Thank You:
These two phrases are still valuable today and their use shows a person has manners more than anything else. In order to teach these words as a parent you must use them yourself (and remind your kids about a million times). Talk to your child about why please and thank you are important. Everyone likes to be appreciated and according to Emily Post saying, "'Please' can turn a demand into a request and indicates an option it can turn an unpopular request into a more palatable one."
This is a valuable phrase that is used too little. Besides saying "excuse me" after public bodily functions there are many other times when "excuse me" should be used. Such as when a person walks through a crowded room, bumps into someone, walks in front of someone, needs to leave a group, or needs to ask a question. I still remember watching my two-year-old son force his way through a crowded hall (which wasn't very polite) while saying, "Excuse me. Excuse me," over and over (which was very polite). Practice role-playing situations in which your child could use "excuse me."
Anything shows bad manners more than a child who runs up to his parent in mid conversation and begins speaking. Teach your child that when you or anyone else is talking that they must wait until a break in the conversation before interrupting. Teach your child the right etiquette using a signal, such as raising one finger, to show that you acknowledge them and will listen in a moment. Then be sure to stop and listen to your child. Emily Post reminds parents that "the mother who invariably stops and says, 'What is it, dear?' when her daughter interrupts is helping her to establish a habit that will do her a disservice all her life."
Developing A Positive Attitude:
A positive attitude is so important in a world increasing in negativity and despair. Having a positive attitude means that you focus on the good things in life and do not dwell on the negative. Developing a positive attitude helps people cope with their lives and reduces destructive thinking. But having a positive attitude isn't something a child is born with. It is something that needs to be developed. As a parent we can help our children in developing positive attitudes about life that will help them as they face the challenges associated with growing up.
Teach your child to never say, "I can't." This statement makes a person feel inadequate. Using this phrase makes children feel badly about themselves. Help children realize that they may not always be able to do everything by themselves, but with help most tasks can be accomplished. If your child doesn't want to do something they should say, "I won't." That way they are taking control of the situation and are saying no not because of feelings of inadequacy but by personal choice.
Help your child learn to control internal dialogue. These are the things that we say to ourselves inside our heads. Children need to learn that when they start thinking negatively about themselves or situations that they can stop. Then think of something positive about themselves or their situation. For example if your child strikes out while playing baseball he may think, "I am so bad at baseball. I should just quit playing." He needs to learn to replace that negative thinking with a positive attitude and thought like, "I may have struck out, but I will practice harder and next time I will do it."
Being positive is a choice. I often remind my son when he is mad or unhappy that he has chosen to react that way. People and situations can make us feel badly but we choose whether or not to dwell on it and allow it to change our mood.
Find reasons to smile and laugh. Tell jokes, watch funny movies, tell stories. Smiling and laughing actually change your brain chemistry and make you feel better. A home full of laughter is a happy home. Just hearing the sound of my children laughing brightens my mood.
Love is a powerful force and it gives children a feeling of self-worth. The more a child feels loved the less likely they are to allow negative thoughts and thinking into their life. Say, "I love you," often, even if your child acts like they don't care inside they need the reassurance that you do. Be liberal with physical affection. We are physical people. Research shows that babies left in orphanages who do not receive any physical contact suffer from it. Give your children hugs, pats on the back, or high fives. My children can't go to bed without their nightly hugs and kisses.
Learning something new helps a child feel proud of herself. It increases confidence and provides something for her to focus on. Having a hobby that she is good at is important. We all need something that we can be good at. This could be playing a sport, musical instrument, or as simple as being a loving child. Whatever it is let your child know that you recognize and value their skill.
Teaching your child to have a positive attitude will build self-esteem and confidence. Developing a positive attitude will help your child have a successful, independent and a self-reliant life. People naturally gravitate towards positive people. So parents start helping your child develop a positive attitude today.