Speaking softly and using polite words is a quality that is appreciated by all, especially when young children do it, everybody is pleased and appreciative of them. This social acceptance is as much important for the psychological development of a child as it is for the parents to reassure they are doing a wonderful job raising their children. Part of polite speech is the ‘magic words’ or the ‘golden words’ that all children must learn. Continue reading for all you need to know about these and how to teach them to your children.
Why Must Every Kid Learn ‘The Magic Words’ or ‘The Golden Words’?
Words have a lot of power in establishing goodwill and ourselves as well-meaning individuals in any social setting. If you have ever observed the most popular or the most liked or the most charismatic people in your lives, they are quite excellent in their use of language and words. The magic words such as Thank You, Please, May I, Excuse me can put an instant smile on anyone’s face. These words build a positive perception of you in the mid of the other person.
When children use these words they are liked by everyone and are invited to engage in social activities. It increases their socialization and builds their interpersonal skills which are absolutely essential for their growth and development into healthy respected adults. The golden words also elicit a positive response from the other person which would result in a better conversation or interaction over-all.
What Are the 5 Golden Words?
Here are the five essential magic words for kids to learn:
1. Thank You
Thank you is the word they need to say to express gratitude towards generosity and any help they received from others unsolicited or not. By saying this word yourself in social situations builds the importance of this word in their minds where they learn that thanks you is how they express their gratitude. Saying thank you also helps children grow into humble adults without a mentality of entitlement. Thank you is also a word that children should say even when they are paying for the services they receive. It is a productive habit to teach them to be thankful for all the good things and people they have in their life on a daily basis.
Everyone inevitably makes mistakes and often unintended and children need to be taught to take responsibility for their actions and say sorry when they hurt or offend someone. An honest apology invites forgiveness and peace into most situations and kids have to understand that saying sorry isn’t a sign of weakness but a display of their responsibility. Owning up to their deed whether it is good or bad shows their strength of character and a habit of apologizing by saying sorry when they are at fault will help gain the trust of their peers and social circles.
3. Excuse Me
Children start out as the center of attention in their families and wherever they go. As they get older they begin to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them and people can get offended if they interrupt or demand attention all the time. While it slowly dawns on them that the world is much bigger and they have to wait their turn for everything, learning to use the word excuse me is one way to set them on theory course towards politeness. The word gains more importance when they empathize with others and understand that being interrupted is just as annoying for others as it is for them.
4. May I
‘May I’ is a term similar to ‘excuse me’ and seeks permission for undertaking a task or to interrupt. As children, using the words ‘may I’ builds the habit of respecting the authority or elders and carries it forward until such a time that they are able to make decisions on their own. ‘May I’ is also a polite way to ask for something or become a part of an activity without coming across as rude and intrusive. The words instil a sense of responsibility in the children to respect the privacy of others or even seek permission for activities they are not expected to perform.
Learning how to make a request is one of the fundamental skills children need to develop. As young children are the center of the universe in every family, they get away with everything they want. As they grow older they need to learn how to request for what they want as things are no longer readily available to them or that people are unwilling to hand them everything they desire. This is where the word ‘please’ becomes essential in the vocabulary of every child. Requesting by saying please is also a good lesson in instilling humility in children
How to Teach Magic Words to Children
Here are some ways on how to teach golden words for parents:
1. Make it Fun
At first, the magic words can come across as boring for children and they might even feel that they are coerced to say it, so make it fun to use them. Use songs and games with the magic words and narrate stories with people using the words in it to familiarize them with it. Good examples of stories with golden words are ‘The nails and love’ and ‘The magic tree’.
2. Encourage Good Manners and Magic Words with Friends
This is a great opportunity to introduce magic words for kindergarten children without them feeling the pressure to use it. Children are more comfortable with others of their age and will readily use the golden words if it makes them more likeable and accepted in the peer group. Begin with teaching them to say ‘hello’ ‘good morning’ when they meet and ‘please’ during playtime when they have to share toys.
3. Do not Force Them to Use the Words
Allow your children to warm up to the idea of golden words through rewards and not punishments. Respond to them with praise and more warmth when they use golden words rather than frowning upon them when they don’t use it. Tell them that people like it when they use the magic words and they will be more liked. Also do not negotiate with the child to expect any physical rewards for using the golden words; it is not a good idea to attach any physical currency to it.
4. Set Realistic Goals and Have Practice Sessions
Build the habit of using magic words at home with your family and relatives. When they meet the neighbors and friends practice saying excuse me, thank you, sorry and other words as they interact with them.
5. Be Patient
Getting your child to use the golden words will take months of practice as their language develops therefore it is important that you stay patient and correct them throughout. If they forget, gently nudge the words back in without being pushy so they can remember to use them in the appropriate situation. Use them in your own conversation with your friends, neighbors and interaction with your child to make the words part of daily conversation.
6. Explain to Them the Benefits of Being Polite
Show them that using the golden words and being polite has consequences and makes people happy. “Grandma was very happy that you said thank you today” is an example of the consequence of being polite. Encourage them to observe that when they are being polite they would receive politeness and love in return.
Golden words lay the foundation of politeness and courtesy in children which will help them grow up to become humble and confident individuals. It takes time and effort to inculcate good manners and it is a continuous effort on the part of the parent.