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(Forgive us friends, for we have been negligent. It has been quite some time since our last post... Better late than never!)

As the New Year approaches, it is a good time to review some of last year’s social highlights and check for areas to change, improve or tweak. When this year’s holiday parties come to a close for 2010, there is opportunity to evaluate and take note of the value of one’s social skills.

All month long there have been episodes of individuals’ double-dunking, licking fingers at the table and the best, eating crudités directly over the platter as excess sauce was drooled right into the dip bowl (Yuck)! There were observable first dates with conversation flowing in only one direction, missed appointments and inappropriate attire at parties and social gatherings. During a shopping frenzy at a local shop, acceptable behaviors were replaced with nasti-tudes, observed when two women got into a vulgar verbal quarrel.

Friendships were strained by inappropriate comments, breakdown in communication and lack of sensitivity. Families were lax in extending common courtesies to one another. Bullies ruled in schools as administrators were in a quandary of how to handle situations. Words such as please and thank you often were forgotten in conversations and feelings were hurt. Sorry was often too late.

Farting and other bodily noises increased, becoming much more visible and acceptable on TV, in the movies and in comedy shows. Radios blasted in decibels so high, they registered on the Richter scale. Guests and hosts forgot their manners by having unrealistic expectations and making impossible demands of time and resources.

As cell phone technology improved and use was on the rise, basic etiquette spiraled downward exponentially. It was not unusual to dine with people texting at the table, conversing in loud tones in quiet or public places, and checking scores at social functions.

Conducting business in the waiting room of a doctor’s office was one of the many examples of lack of consideration.

As we move into the New Year, EtiKids invites everyone to think about adding a resolution that gives latitude to gratitude by incorporating a new social skill. Here are a few ideas!

Have a conversation without using the word “I”. Give others the leeway to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences. Listen more.

Add the magic words please and thank you in conversation, especially when talking to children. According to research, it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Use the next month to assure the addition of those words to daily vocabulary. Set the example, model the behavior and watch the words appear in the child’s every day language

Make a commitment to learn table manners. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy social situations where etiquette will come in handy be it a first date, business dinner, formal fundraiser or casual celebration.

Take time for pampering oneself. Getting enough rest and relaxation fosters patience and politeness with others.

Book an EtiKids party or class for your next home or school function. Any EtiKids workshop is a welcome and fun addition to an organization’s meeting, professional seminar or business event. Programs are fun, entertaining and filled with strategies to include etiquette in a corporate culture and everyday life.

Please let us know how you are doing. We invite you to share a success story or tell us how your resolutions are progressing. May the year bring joy, good health and peace to all….Thank you!

 
 
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I recently did a survey on the EtiKids website. The question was “do you make children say please when you ask for something?” Out of the responses, 58.3% said they do “all of the time.” 16.7% said “not as often as I should,” and 25% had other answers, including, “I will when I have a child!” and “Yes- but they are not my children…” 0% of the people said never!

The word “please” is to be used when you want something: to ask rather than to demand. That “magic word,” as it is often referred to for children, changes the tone of the sentence. An ultimatum begins to resemble a request, and the demeanor between the involved parties relaxes. A person is more willing to get the job done (with far less under-the-breath muttering) should that word be included.

The results of this poll should show just how hard it is to enforce that 1 word into daily vocabulary. Although it is amazing that more than half of the pollers are diligent about regularly enforcing the use of the word please, the 16.7% were brutally honest in their “not as often as I should” answers.

From an article on Parents Connect, Nanny Stella gives great advice for teaching children to use the word please (and thank you) in 3 steps: “1) show by example, 2) praise the pleases, and 3) be a broken record.”

Children truly learn from behavior being modeled, meaning, they learn by watching those around them. Control the market by showing them the behaviors that you want them to exhibit in public. If you want a child to hand you the cup of water instead of spill it, you should say, “Please hand me the water.” When the child uses the language on his/her own, praise him/her repeatedly. Positive reinforcement, is a highly effective way to teach children behaviors that you wish for them to continue without negative repercussions. Finally, if the child doesn’t use the word please, do not provide them with what they want until the magic word is said. For children, their new language can become innate with a bit of consistent practice. They will get it.

Children love challenges, so provide them the opportunity to rise to the occasion. Count how many people said, “please” when they asked for something, whether in a restaurant, in a classroom, in a store. Let the kids listen for the magic word, and let them watch people’s reactions when it is and is not used. Children can learn from their own recognition skills: why politeness matters.

Please is the most basic of social etiquette; the politeness displayed by the courtesy will open doors with its usage. Teaching children this social skill at a young age will ensure mastery and give them the tools to succeed as grownups.