You may have seen Michele Borba, ED.D. on the Today Show giving advice on teaching character strengths to children.
I was lucky enough to see her speak at a school in Philadelphia. You can tell she is the EXPERT and one of the most passionate advocates for children and teens.
If you have not seen her, spend some time on You Tube to see and witness what I mean.
Thrivers: The Surprising Reason Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine
Dr. Borba says Thrivers are made not born.
Even before the pandemic, children were stressed, lonely and overwhelmed. According to Dr. Borba, we have focused so much on testing and being competitive, we have lost touch and not taught children how to be human.
When I read this….it caused a moment of pause. It is a profound statement and one I believe to be true.
Over the years as I have worked with parents, I often hear the comment “they will listen to you more than me”- meaning, when teaching manners, children listen to a third party. For some reason this is the way of the world.
Finding moments or dedicated time to teach manners in your classroom is actually very easy. Most likely you are using good social skills all day every day in the classroom (virtual or in-person).
Manners and Life Skills such as:
Eye contact: When using eye contact, point out what you are doing. As students use good eye contact, let them know you noticed.
Respect: Point out respectful behaviors as you see certain actions (helping others, expressing gratitude, holding the door, saying “good morning”)
Conversation skills: We have multiple conversations a day. Recognize students when they engage with each other. Conversation skills are becoming a lost art. This skill is the cornerstone of building friendships.
There has been a focus at the school level in many states to focus on the whole child.
Instills Confidence: MostChildren are social beings and enjoy eating together.When they know the basics…napkin in lap and using it, chew with their mouth closed, etc. they feel good about themselves.They are confident.They know what to do when eating with others.
Joy in Helping: Setting the table starts the ritual of eating together.When you allow children to take an active role, they feel useful. Taking out the plates, forks and napkins sets the tone for togetherness.This can be in the cafeteria at school, in the classroom or at home.
There is so much joy in helping out a parent or teacher. They can also take on a role at the end of the meal by clearing the table (how fun is that chore!).
Conversation Skills: I always tell teachers and parents, if you want your children to have good conversation skills, sit down together at meal time.Not only does sitting down together to eat teach table manners, this act also teaches everyone about talking to each other.
Ask questions.Learn what happened during the day.This is a simple step to take and adds so much value for life.