Summer homework for kids: brush up those manners


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer homework for kids: brush up those manners

Also, don’t hold children back a grade just because they’re small.

Carol Veravanich

Ask the Teacher
Special to the Orange County Register


Question.   Every June I hear the same question from parents to the teachers, “What should my child work on over the summer so they’ll be ready for next year?” I’d like to make a suggestion. As a parent that has volunteered at least two days a week in the classroom and library, gone on field trips, and worked on the playground as a supervisor, I have seen what the kids need to work on.

Parents need to spend the entire summer drilling manners into their children. It is amazing that this simple thing is overlooked, underestimated, and not taught in the home. Good manners should not be taught by the teacher, just reinforced. Kids with good manners help the teachers teach. It frees them up from a wide variety of behavior problems. Good manners would reduce the amount of conflicts on the playgrounds. Good manners can be very simple. Learn to say please, thank you, and excuse me.

Answer.   I am asked all the time, “What should we have our children work on during the summer to get ahead?” I enjoyed your suggestion. This does seem like common sense, and it is in many homes, but I agree that manners would be an excellent place to start.

Going further, I think parents need to turn off the TV and computers to stop these influences as well. Kids need to have human interaction, and it is lacking for many children. Can you imagine a summer with no TV or computers? Fewer video games and more exercise?

Children would rather text each other silly little sentences, with horrendous grammar, rather than speak to each other face to face. E-mail and social networking sites makes kids say and act in ways they would not attempt if the person they were communicating with was in front of them. Technology is great, but it should not raise your children for you.