Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Etiquette and Pre-Schoolers

Little children have no appreciation of social usage. Indeed they have no use for it whatever, as yet they have a long way to go into their social development, before parents can expect them to defer to another child simply because he happens to be a guest. Lessons in fair dealings come first; etiquette can wait until the child is ready for it.

Your Child
By Jane Coward

When little Judy, who was visiting, decided that she wanted the toy with which three-year-old Allen was playing. Allen’s mother called him aside and whispered that he was the host and must let his guest have whatever she wanted. Just as any other normal youngster would have done under the circumstances, Allen refused. Then, after some pleading on mother's part, he reluctantly handed his toy over to his little friend, but promptly slapped her. It so happens that the toy in question was Allen’s favorite. But even if it weren’t a favorite plaything, a toy always seems more desirable to a youngster when another covets it. This always makes him feel proud of his ownership. And it won’t do any good to criticize the sudden change by saying, “You never cared for the toy before!” He cares for it now, and that will be enough to make him feel and behave with possessiveness where it is concerned. 

At no time should parents insist upon drawing room decorum for pre-school-age youngsters toward their little guests. Little children have no appreciation of social usage. Indeed they have no use for it whatever, as yet they have a long way to go into their social development, before parents can expect them to defer to another child simply because he happens to be a guest. First, they must learn to get along with little people. For this they have to learn respect for property, to take turns, to share things. Disagreements like the one described above between Allen and Judy are bound to arise wherever youngsters meet, whether at the playground, in nursery school or at each other’s homes. And the person in charge must be prepared to deal with them on a basis of equality. Judy, for example, might have been urged to offer a toy to Allen in exchange for the one which he was using. No matter that he was her host. It takes years for children to learn give and take, and training has to be pursued diligently as opportunities arise. Lessons in fair dealings come first; etiquette can wait until the child is ready for it. – Madera Tribune, 1942


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia