Talk right - Teaching kids the art of polite conversation
Your friends have come home for some coffee and gossip session, and things are going on fine, except that you can’t seem to finish a sentence; what if your child is interrupting you every 30 seconds. Whenever any of your friends attempt to speak to your child he either ignores them or runs away. If this sounds like your child, don’t fret. Children are not programmed to have lengthy conversation let alone polite ones. For your child, he is the centre of the universe and the entire world revolves around him. So it is natural for him that what ever he has to say should be considered “breaking news” So teach your child how the art of polite conversation is done and you may be surprised with the results.
Teach your child the art of polite conversation as you would teach him to say read and write. Don’t expect him to know how it’s done. Make him understand that not everybody likes to be interrupted when they are speaking and he can only expect people to listen to what he has to say if he does so himself.
Teach him to listen: Be a good listener yourself. When he sees you listening to what the other person has to say first and then speaking, he understands how listening has to be done and he may be temped to give it a shot.
Develop a system to help him along: The next time you have company over, and your child interrupts you, instead of yelling at him to stop, use a small gesture like laying your palm on his hands. Tell him that this is secret code between you two and once you squeeze his hand he has to stop talking. Making it seem like a fun thing will make him more receptive to the idea.
Be clear: Let him be clear on how you define polite .Tell him how he is expected to behave. Once he knows what to do (or rather what not to do) he will be more likely to behave himself. Don’t forget to praise him for a job well done. Sit down with them and tell them why you insist on being polite to people. Tell them about how unhappy people become if their feelings are hurt and remind him how he had felt when he was sneered or spoken rudely to. Teach him how to talk to adults without being shy or sacred. Let him talk to a few familiar people “politely” before you let him test waters with a “real adult” This will make him more confident and shed his inhibitions.
Have realistic expectations from your child: Don’t expect him to start speaking like an English noble man overnight. Be consistent in your corrections and give him lots of opportunities to interact with people. For instance, he could get the change back from the cashier at the supermarket with a cheerful “Thank you have a nice day” Or ask a Stanger to pass him the cereal box with an “Excuse me uncle, could you pass me that cereal box” Soon it will become ingrained into his seem.
Put everyone in the loop: Ensure that all the family members and caregivers are in tune with your approach, and let your child know that bad behavior will not be tolerated or overlooked at any point what ever be the circumstance. This will give him the message that behaving politely is here to stay and he better toe the line.