How to train a child to behave around visitors

Kids can be a bit embarrassing especially if not groomed from a young age. It doesn’t mean that they should only be disciplined around visitors but even with the people they stay or study with and strangers as well.

I got a chance to visit a friend but I didn’t want to stay for even more than 30 minutes. Well, her reception was warm and everything seemed okay for the first five minutes, until her last born who is aged three, became a burden.

This child is loved so much that even when she makes a mistake she is not punished or told never to repeat it. She was jumping in the same chair I was seated in, and worst of all, when lunch was served; she came and picked a piece of meat from my plate.

What image did she depict of her parents? Well, it is a signal that she was not raised well. Everyone at the dining table was a little disappointed but the kid was busy feasting away on my big piece of meat.

Although children get excited around visitors, they need to be guided on what to do so that they don’t make the visitors uncomfortable. This is how?

Let them play from outside the house. As a parent, it is a bit nagging trying to have a conversation with your visitor when the house is full of noise and unnecessary running up and down. It is better to ask your children politely to play from outside and explain to them why they have to, anyway. If they know that shouting for visitors is irritating, they won’t repeat it.

Train them to welcome visitors. Isn’t it lovely seeing your child welcome a visitor, walk them inside the house, get any package they carried from them and offer them a seat? This doesn’t need only grown up children to do. It is something that can be taught to kids as young as possible especially from four years.

Greeting should be a must. A disciplined child greets visitors humbly even before he or she is told to do so. It is a bit embarrassing when a parent pleads to a child to greet a visitor in their (visitor’s) presence.

They shouldn’t engage in mature people’s conversations. Let kids give their parents space to talk to their visitors. It is important to train a child that after greeting a visitor, they should disappear to allow her parents have a conversation with their visitor.

Put rules to be followed. Children should know the dos and don’ts of the house, and if broken, they should be guided or disciplined. The dos and don’ts shouldn’t be opposite from how the parents or guardians behave because that is what the little ones will emulate.

Train table manners. If kids happen to share a dining table with visitors, they must be guided that looking in another person’s plate is unkind. It is a sign that they are not satisfied. In case they need more food, teach them to feel free to ask for it.

Preach kindness. Words like “I am sorry”, “please,” and “thank you,” shouldn’t miss in their vocabulary. If a child is offered something, they must appreciate, if they need a favour, they must add please, if they make a mistake, they ought to say sorry.

Let them participate in making the visitor comfortable. It is a good idea to ask your children to serve visitors. For instance, a child can ask a visitor what drinks or snacks to offer them so that they serve them. Such a child would not forget how visitors should be treated.

All these and more are also very important when the child visits other people. Discipline is a virtue that needs to be imparted to every child.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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