It’s never too early to begin teaching your children the rules of etiquette. There are many people who believe that etiquette no longer matters especially for the Nigerian society, but the truth is that it does matter. And if you want to groom children to be confident in any social situation, it’s good to start with etiquette. These rules are by no means exhaustive but if you have thought about teaching your children etiquette and are not sure where to start from, these will help.
1. Formal Dining
If you go to a fancy restaurant (or anywhere else) and you’re served a several course meal, always use your utensils from the outside in. Utensils are set in the order that the food will arrive. The cutlery set closest to your plate is the last one you’ll use.
2. Don’t Say NO to New Foods
If you’re invited to your friend’s home or taken out to eat and you’re given food that you’re not used to, don’t refuse it outright. It’s always good to try it first; take a bite and see whether you like it or not.
3. Knocking at Doors
If a door is shut, always knock and then wait a few minutes before you enter. If you know that there is someone at the other side of the room, it’s better to wait for permission before you open the door.
4. Where to Keep Things
Always put things back where you got them from and the way you met them. If a door was closed when you opened it, close it back. If you took a pen from a table, put it back there. Either put things back where they are supposed to be or exactly where you found them.
5. The Rule of 12
When talking with others, always use a form of thanks and the person’s name in the first 12 words you speak (“It’s good to see you, Mary,” or “Thanks for picking me up from soccer, Dad.”) By following this rule of 12, people will want to continue to do nice things for you. (from oprah.com)
6. How to Greet
If you meet an elder, courtesy or bow slightly when you are greeting. Different tribes have their ways of showing respect to elderly people, but if you’re not sure what works for the person you’re meeting, a slight courtesy or a small bow will do and it shows that you are a polite young lady or young man. Do not bring out your hand to shake unless you are first offered.
Take the time to teach your child the basics of etiquette. And if you have toddlers and you want to teach them manners, read our article on manners for toddlers; it’s never too early to start right.