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7 Signs that your child needs an etiquette intervention

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Mind your manners

Every child learns proper etiquette at their own pace, just as every parent teaches manners as they see fit. If you haven't tackled the challenge yet -- or you're turning a blind eye to bad habits -- your child could be exhibiting some clear signs that an etiquette intervention is needed...ASAP!

Mind your manners

1Eyes up here

If your child can't look adults -- or other kids, for that matter -- in the eye, you may want to let him know that eye contact is a polite way to show respect and acknowledge that another person is interacting with him.

2Chomp chomp

Do you feel like you're sitting across from a cow during meals rather than a child? Open mouth chewing is rude and pretty gross. If crumbs and bits of cereal are flying out of your child's mouth on a regular basis, you may want to consider an etiquette makeover.

3Please and thank you

Do these words seem foreign to your child? If you have to remind them over and over...and over...again to say "please" and "thank you," perhaps they don't understand this unwritten rule of politeness? Perhaps roll-playing situations in which politeness is practiced are necessary to drive the message home.

4Don't forget to say...

Do you find yourself finishing your child's sentences hoping that manners are inferred? You're probably not doing her a favor. If you are constantly filling in the "thank you"s, "you're welcome"s and "Bless you"s for your child, reinforce the importance of polite communication and allow her to practice on her own.

5Oh, the whining!

Childhood seems to come with its fair share of whining, but excessive griping about what you're serving for dinner or clothes chosen for school is just irritating and rude, especially in front of other people. This is especially true if your children are eight or older. Younger children can get away with a little whining -- but only to an extent.

6Pick, pick, pick

Yes, it's gross. Yes, all kids do it. Still, nose picking in public is perhaps the grand-daddy of etiquette violations. If your child has a finger up his nose every time you turn around, an etiquette makeover is surely in order. Of course, some children will feed off the attention and increase the nose picking, so find a tactful way to divert his attention to more...ahem, positive behavior.

7Where can I hide?

Does your child's behavior frequently embarrass you? Kids do some pretty silly stuff, some of which can be endearing, some of which can be mortifying. Rudeness, brash defiance and uncalled for sassiness can make a parent want to run for the hills. Rather than actually bolt, try an etiquette makeover.

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