It is that time of year again when those of us with school-age children turn our thoughts to the start of a new term. As you wave your little darlings off in their shiny new shoes and wrinkle free uniform, it is useful to bear in mind some of the etiquette rules that will help the school year run more smoothly.
1. Good manners start at home
The best way to ensure that your child displays good manners at school is to teach and model them at home. Children should be encouraged to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, use correct table manners and not interrupt when others are speaking.
As they get older, introduce your children to other aspects of etiquette such as mobile phone and social media etiquette. Children are more likely to behave properly online when they know what is expected of them. So, it is important to invest some time into teaching them to slow down and think about their posts, comments, texts, and e-mails is crucial.
2. Show respect for the teacher
Effective communication between parents and teachers is essential to make sure that any issues are addressed before they escalate. Use the teacher’s preferred mode of communication, whether this is email or a written note in your child’s record book.
If you have an issue with a teacher, do not badmouth him or her in front of your child and be careful of what you say to other parents. Always follow the school’s communication guidelines and don’t ask your child to text you in their lunch break if mobile phones are not allowed.
3. First impressions count
Did you know that it only takes seven seconds to form a first impression? Ensure that the new school year gets off to a good start by encouraging your child to make eye contact, speak clearly and wait for her turn.
Personal presentation is key part of the impression we make on other people. Children should be taught to keep their uniform neat and tidy, with buttons done up properly and shirts or blouses tucked in. Long hair should be tied back and school rules on jewellery, make-up and other adornments need to be observed at all times.
4. Organisation is key
Most schools will issue a list of essential supplies to parents and pupils ahead of the start of term. Make sure that you leave enough time to purchase all necessary items so that your child is not left trying to squeeze himself into a grown-out blazer on the first morning of school.
Set a good example by always handing in permission slips and other paperwork on time and being punctual when attending parent-teacher meetings and other school activities. It is important that children learn to respect other people’s time and not to keep them waiting.You can help your child be more organised by encouraging him to develop good habits such as packing school and PE bags the night before.
5. Be kind to others
In many ways schools are a microcosm of wider society and it is vital that children learn to respect each other’s differences. Bullying, whether verbal or physical, should never be tolerated and could lead to disciplinary action being taken.
Young children can be self-centered and need reminders about putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. Encourage your child to think before saying something unkind and to take the time to consider how she might feel if someone said it to her. Be a good role model and try to be nice and considerate to people you interact with in your day-to-day life.
Helping your child develop the good manners that contribute to lasting friendships, will not only make her school days more pleasant it will also equip her with life-long social skills that boost her self-esteem and happiness.