Opinion Saturday: Likeable Kids

For today’s Opinion Saturday, I’d like to hear some of your best tips for teaching your children to get along with others.

It might be a way to end a quarrel over a toy, or a way to easily converse with great-grandma. When we are on the way to visit someone that we don’t know well or haven’t seen for awhile, I’ll remind my kids of an interesting event in their life they could talk about, or suggesting a question they could ask.

What kinds of things have you taught your children to help them become more socially adept? You have until Wednesday evening to answer. The person with the best idea gets the Golden Keyboard Award this week. Ideas, anyone?

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  1. For the most part, my kids do very well getting along with anyone except each other. They have moments of great fun, but can fight like cats and dogs also. The “do unto others” thing hasn’t really worked when it comes to sibling conflict, so I’m trying to teach them to see their relationships with each other as a ministry. A pastor I know in Colorado has a great saying that we’re trying to instill in our kids, “See your life as a ministry and every relationship as a ministry opportunity”. Sometimes it’s easy as believers to forget that our homes are a mission field also. They don’t mind deferring to each other and cooperating as much if they see their actions as having eternal value. Of course they’re a little older, so this kind of reasoning is possible. It doesn’t always work, mind you, but they are doing better with this mindset. Sometimes they are just itching for conflict and nothing seems to hold them back. Hopefully this will help them see their lives with Kingdom vision and see every individual as worthy of serving- even pesky brothers or sisters! 😉

  2. Teach your tots how to write/memorize multiplication “table number 9” in just 1 to 2 minutes. And, use it to impress your friends. Sounds difficult to do but actually so easy. Look at the answers on the right…

    9 X 1 = 09
    9 X 2 = 18
    9 X 3 = 27
    9 X 4 = 36
    9 X 5 = 45
    9 X 6 = 54
    9 X 7 = 63
    9 X 8 = 72
    9 X 9 = 81
    9 X 10 = 90

    …the first digit is ascending from 0 to 9 while the second digit is descending from 9 to 0. Your task now is how are you going to teach this to your kids.

    My Dad teached me how to memorize it when I was in grade two. My classmates were struggling while I was laughing. I didn’t tell them the secret until we were in grade six. Hope it works for your kids.

  3. Manners, manners, manners. Folks adore a good set of manners in little ones. It seems that “Yes, sir” and “No, Ma’am” are obsolete in every home but ours. We sometimes get odd looks when our son bust out an, “Oh! Excuse me, sir!” at Wal-Mart when he accidentally steps in front of someone. At 2 years old, our sons were both taught to say, ‘It’s a pleasure to make your acquantance!” when introduced to anyone. They already know to hold the door for ladies and are expected to do so without being asked or reminded.

    We occasionally get the “shame-on-you-for-being-such-strict-parents” look when our sons show exemplary manners. I will never, however be deterred from teaching my children their lost art. We are and forever will be a family of thank-you notes, sirs and ma’ams. A family whose children give up their seats for ladies of any age and who are respectfully quiet when older folks are speaking. They will go far in life if taught respect for others.

  4. I have to say, I really agree with Solomon and Malachi – young ‘uns with good manners are very likeable and get lots of positive attention. Respect is a good thing to teach from a young age. My story is a bit less serious though. When Bean first started talking one of her first phrases was “Rock on.” When we were in a social situation I’d sing the first line “Blue jean beauty queen, prettiest thing I’ve ever seen…” and Bean would finish it with “Rock on!” It broke the ice and got everyone laughing, including Bean who is usually incredibly shy. It helped her warm up to people more easily.

  5. Maybe not the socially adept you were looking for, but …

    http://myboys.wordpress.com/2007/03/24/mommy-trick-the-oath/

  6. Martina Fahrner says:

    Do straight razors or kitchen knifes count?
    Something that works for our group of friends is that we all empowered ourselves to yell at every kids, no matter if it is ours or not. With having the same rules everywhere and the same consequences, the kids behave well. Oh, going over the rules before a visit and discussing them earnestly (Yes, it can be tiring to go for the hmpst time over why they have to wash hands) seems to help, too!

  7. The best tip for having socially adept kids (besides the basics of good manners of course) is teaching them the critical importance of looking people in the eye when greeting them or speaking to them. It is a simple instruction, and when young ones are taught to do that, others respond immediately and positively. In addition, little ones can more easily connect with others when they do this. Of course as they grow up, it is one of the key ways that they might be judged in a first impression whether in a job interview, meeting parents of friends and learning from teachers. If this instruction is given when they are young, it is a good habit that will stay with them throughout their lives. Often I remember during my teen years, my own father saying that he liked this or that young man because “he looked me right in the eye”!

  8. I was using sign language before it was the thing to do. It was not a way to teach my kids to communicate before they could speak, although I have to admit, that is a nifty idea;rather,sign language for us was a series of commands that could be used (by myself of my husband if he was so inclined) to remind the kids of their manners when we were out.

    The two that we used the most were “sit down” which can really draw attention to the signer if performed emphatically – which sort of defeats the purpose, and thank you.

    I teach a preschool class and I have just taught my classroom kids the sign for sit down. There is not alot of time that they are required to sit, but when they are, it is so much nicer to sign to them then to raise my voice about the hub-bub.

    Sorry for all of the RO sentences – it is the end of a long weekend!

  9. Pastormac always tells our kids as they’re leaving to spend time with a friend or if they are struggling with a certain person – “B.N.T.H.” – Be Nicer To Him/Her – encouraging our children to be nicer to that person than he/she is to you. A rule of thumb in our home – treat others the way that you would like to be treated if you were them thus setting the standard of behavior high.

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