The summer has flown by, and once again it is time for children to head back to school! As you prepare for the coming school year, your mind may immediately think of purchasing things like pencils and notebooks for your child. However, manners can be an equally important school supply for students.
Luckily, when it comes to back-to-school etiquette for children, simplicity is key, and a little social grace goes a long way.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but being kind can help so many children and adults have a better school year. Etiquette, in a nutshell, is being socially thoughtful in hopes of making the world a more pleasant place.
A daily exercise to help foster kindness with your children may include asking them to tell you something nice about a classmate or asking them to compliment a peer or teacher each day. This will encourage a positive mindset and seeing the good in others.
Every family inevitably has a chatty little one—I know I was scolded a time or two growing up for talking when I shouldn’t be in class! Listening is one of the core skills a child will need to make the most of their education.
Teach your child about the importance of raising their hand for speaking and asking questions in class prior to the start of the school year. You can even make it a game at home to prepare! Play classroom together and take turns being the student and teacher so your child can practice the skill in a relaxed environment.
Children should come to class with all the supplies and knowledge necessary to participate. Teach your children to pack their backpack the evening before school so they are ready to make the most of their lessons the next day. This skillset will also be handy as children become adults!
Use table manners.
While the cafeteria may seem more casual to children because they are dining with their peers, table manners are just as important here as they are with adults. To avoid your child making a mess that a teacher or aide will have to clean up, practice basic table manners with your children before they head to school. This includes holding a fork or spoon independently, using a napkin, drinking from a water bottle or cup, and holding a tray (if they will be eating the school’s lunch). My son Brody has this stainless-steel water bottle with a straw, which has proved easy for him to use on his own at school!
If your child will be bringing their lunch, we have loved this bentgo box for packing lunches! These are especially great if you have a picky eater who doesn’t like their foods touching.
And of course, portable ice packs are a must for packed lunches to ensure they stay fresh.
Educating children on the importance of personal hygiene and a polished appearance may be a challenge (especially if you have boys, ha!) but it is an indispensable skill to have as they head into the teen and adult years.
Teach children to wash their hands before (and after) eating and after using the restroom. Faces should be cleaned after eating, and napkins placed in the lap or tucked into shirts to avoid soiling clothes during meals.
Keeping clothing tidy can be a challenge, but we have found if you are able to help the child value their clothing items, they are more likely to attempt to keep them clean. Brody wears a uniform for school, and we have loved these sew on custom labels. Having his name on his uniform has made Brody even more proud to wear it. It also helps children, parents and teachers identify what uniform items belong with which child. When they look alike that can be a challenge!
I hope these tips help, and I’m wishing your littles the best school year yet! Do you have more back-to-school products you’ve loved for your kids? Leave your suggestions in the comments!