Nothing makes parents more proud than watching their kids behave well and show good manners during family get-togethers. According to Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, you can never start early when it comes to etiquette.
“I encourage family meals, so kids understand from an early age what manners are expected from them during a meal. I teach children that good manners simply means to be kind, thoughtful, and respectful at all times… all lessons that can start very young," she told Good Housekeeping.
Meier also shared her top etiquette lessons every child should know. From Meier's list of 20, we've whittled it down to 10 of the basics and took the liberty to modify them to suit the Filipino setting and culture.
1. Show respect and kindness to everyone around you. For Filipinos, this would also mean using “po” and “opo” when speaking to elders. If you haven’t yet, practice now at home.
Respect should also be shown to grown-ups with the use of ate, kuya, manong, and manang. Tito and tita are also appropriate for mom and dad's friends, even if they're not relatives.
Greet elders with a mano, or by gently taking the hand of the adult and touching it to the forehead.
2. Use please, thank you, and excuse me every day. Teach your child the Filipino equivalents of these as well – “pwede po bang,” “paki,” and “makikisuyo po.” “Salamat po” is especially crucial on Christmas and must be used for every gift your child receives, even if he doesn’t particularly like the present.
3. Know proper table manners It's not about how to holding silverware properly per se, but something simple as using serving spoons must be used to get ulam or rice. If your child is old enough, kamayaan is also proper in certain settings. Proper etiquette suggests that only one hand should be used to bring food to the mouth.
4. Never interrupt an adult when they are speaking to someone else. “[Young kids] crave their parents’ attention, and they haven’t yet learned that there are times when it’s not appropriate or possible for parents to provide it,” parent educator Beverley Cathcart-Ross told Today’s Parent. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start teaching your child that it’s not proper to interrupt. Try out this mom’s hack on how you child can get your attention without being rude. 5. Make eye contact when speaking to another person, and don't point or stare.
6. Always help someone in need, particularly if they are less able than you are. There are lots of ways to help. Lolo may need help bring in the food from the kitchen. A younger cousin may need help with cutting a slice of dessert or setting up a new toy he received. Tita might appreciate a hand with giving out presents.
7. Never comment on someone's appearance unless it's to say something nice. There are ways to compliment a person or give a comment with a tone of love and respect. Tips on how to teach children to be tactful can be found here. 8. Always cover your mouth when sneeze or coughing. Say “excuse me” after sneezing, coughing, and burping too. 9. Always knock on a door before opening it. This is especially important if your child is used to simply opening the doors at home and barraging into a room. When visiting someone’s home, Filipinos also call out “Tao po!” if the hosts haven’t been greeted yet to signify one’s presence. 10. Invite someone to join a group if they are alone. A simple “Would you like to play with us?” is enough to help a new friend feel more welcome. A reminder from you before the celebration will certainly help your child remember to do this.