It’s become very rare to hear or see kids who still value the importance of respect, and for us Filipinos, the habit of saying “po” and “opo”.
As Stacee grows and becomes more aware of her surroundings, there are times that I worry about her picking up bad habits from some random kid. I’m not saying I want my child to be perfect because that is impossible. I just want her to grow up as a respectful child the way my parents have raised me and my siblings.
And I am glad to share with everyone how proud I am that my daughter has been tremendously courteous and loving even at an early age of three. She says sorry even for the smallest accidents. She says thank you for times when someone helps her or gives her something. She’s saying opo (at a cute English accent) now instead of just saying yes. She respects us when we say no (occassionally). She knows how to help out, to share, and to greet people at most occassions.
I’m no expert at child psychology. Everything I apply in terms of raising Stacee are all learnt from professional parents who were able to raise courteous children of five: my very own Mama and Papa. And maybe a few other tips from parenting articles online and from magazines. So here are all things Stan and I have learned and have applied so far in teaching Stacee to be a courteous kid.
1. Instill the habit of courtesy. I’ve read from one online site that it takes 21 repititions before an activity turns into a habit. I figured that it was a big deal spending enough time with her to make sure that she gets to practice it. So that’s what Stan and I did.
2. Be a role model. The best way to show the importance of courtesy is by practicing it yourself. Stan and I started becoming more courteous around her so that we’ll serve as examples for her. Another benefit that we got is that we got to improve how we treat each other and learned to value respect for others, too. So it was a win-win situation.
3. Reward a good behavior. Sometimes, even a simple affirmation does the trick but a timely reward can help give her an idea that she’s done somethong wonderful.
4. Practice appreciation. Stacee always says thank you. And one reason I think that she got used to it is because she always hears it from us. Every time she says ‘thank you’, we answer back ‘you’re welcome.’
5. Never stop showing your love. Being courteous is another way of showing your love and care for other people. So sprinkling some love on every single thing we do helps improve the habit of courtesy, too. We say ‘i love you’ every chance we get, share hugs, and give her kisses. Overall, it brings the family closer, too.
6. Teach the differences of right and wrong, good and bad. A courteous kid also values the differences of good and bad, right and wrong. After all, instilling some manners is the main goal of courtesy.
There is really no exact recipe for a courteous kid but sometimes knowing what to do and what not to do helps make the process easier. To my fellow first-time parents, spending time with your child is still a very important factor in raising a good kid. I’m sure we’ll all agree that being a parent is the best job ever, especially when you witness all your efforts bear fruit and your child grows up well-mannered.
Thanks for reading!