Parents

Five tricks to teaching your child courteous communication

Jan. 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM ET

From Faye Rogaski, founder of Socialsklz.comRespect for yourself is the foundation of respect for others. Lead by example and show your child that YOU respect yourself and take good care of yourself each day. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Take the time to show your child how to properly greet and introduce him/herself to others. Don’t expect that they’ll know how to do so by watching you everyday. Go through the fundamentals of a proper handshake, including a firm shake (hands meet web to web), eye contact, posture and a smile. Then practice the exercise and say, “Hi my name is…It’s nice to meet you.” A first impression lasts a lifetime and the sooner you teach this, the more time there is for practice and for your child to be comfortable in doing so. It doesn’t happen overnight. Go through the exercise of writing and sending a thank you note. It’s a long lost art, which is so meaningful and will give your child the opportunity to experience the joy of thoughtfulness. Write it with your child and make the note personalized. Have them address it (or as much as they can depending on age) and have them put the stamp on and actually put it in the postal box. Giving is one of the greatest joys of life that you can teach your child. While your children might not be using modern technology yet, take the time to familiarize yourself with chatrooms, Facebook, texting, blogging and instant messaging. These are the forms of communication that your children will be using on a daily basis and often how they will initially meet someone. The more foreign they are to you, the more foreign you will be in guiding your child. With the knowledge at hand, you can discuss what’s appropriate and inappropriate. For example, what you write on a blog might stay there forever, so be sure that what you write is thoughtful and courteous. And just because you’re behind a computer screen doesn’t mean you’re behind a wall. Say aloud whatever you’re writing on the computer before you post or send it. It has the same meaning as saying it in person, plus it can stay there for a lot longer. As soon as you start hearing the improper use of the word “like” in your child’s vocabulary, explain what the proper use of “like” is. At Socialsklz we hand out “like” cards each time the word is used improperly. The exercise shows children how frequently (and improperly) they use the word…and they have no idea! A child whose sentences are not littered with this word can set him/herself apart as well-spoken instantaneously. Faye Rogazki is the founder of Socialsklz.com. Learn more by visiting her site.Have your own secrets for teaching kids proper etiquette? Share your tips here.Related stories:Discuss: Is technology impacting your child's ability to communicate face to face?

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