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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Role Playing with Our Kids

I was a bystander in a conversation the other day in which a mom was sharing how she and her husband used to have their son "practice" how to interact with people at church. As well as talk about what he should do as they were driving to church. They would talk through what to do when some said hello or asked him a question. I suppose he was probably 4-7yrs old at the time.

This got me thinking about various situations in which my kids had to (sometimes still need to) learn the proper way to interact with others - especially adults whom they don't know well. Here's my short list:
  • How to reply to someone who has spoken to them.
  • How to say thank you, without prompting, when receiving a gift.
  • Clear communication: speak loudly, speak clearly, make eye contact, listen.
  • Holding the door open for others as you walk in/out of a building.
  • Being aware of others (not standing in the way in the grocery store isle, not walking in front of others, etc.)
  • When to interrupt a conversation; how to say excuse me and then wait to be acknowledged.
  • How to sit at the table and eat politely.
Basically, good manners, which I think we all want our kids to have. I've noticed that I often expect my kids to know all this without having necessarily taught it to them. The conversation with the mom was a good reminder that we need to be intentional about explaining and practicing with our children the right ways to act, because waiting until we're in the moment isn't always the best "teaching opportunity."
~ Tiffany

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