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Manners Still Matter: Kid-friendly program teaches the how and why


As the world begins to emerge and return to some type of new normal, a lot of us – adults and children alike – have forgotten how to behave in public. Is small talk still a thing? We’re eating with other people again – what does that look like? Do we shake hands after we’ve spent a year washing and sanitizing them?

Elise McVeigh, a children’s manners and parenting expert, hosts the virtual manners video series, “The McVeigh’s Magnificent Manners Show,” and is author of “A Parent's Guide to Manners and Kids: Lessons, Games and Activities for Home, School and Beyond.” She is ready to guide children along a mannerly path without overwhelming them with information or intimidating them with formality. Think of it as a friendly bootcamp for reemergence. 

It all starts with communication, something McVeigh said has always been challenging. 

“Something I always tell parents is when you’re at church or temple or even if your Starbucks has a lot of your neighbors, find opportunities for your children to go up to an adult and say, ‘Hi Mr. so-and-so, how are you?’” McVeigh said. 

Even speaking to teachers in person may be a challenge for some children. The time to practice is now. But shaking hands can probably wait a while longer. 

“If you are uncomfortable shaking someone’s hand, maybe wave,” McVeigh said.

In her online classes and videos, role playing gives children important practice. Parents can run through a variety of scenarios with them. 

“If you can role play, it makes it less intimidating,” she said. “Kids get really nervous talking with adults, especially adults in authority.”

Practice table manners and being a good guest and a good host, since some of those skills may have been forgotten during the pandemic. And well before the school year starts, begin the routine, if it will be new for your child. Practice getting clothes out and making a morning checklist. 

“If kids will be transitioning from virtual school back to the classroom, make sure they start getting up and getting ready a week or so in advance,” McVeigh said. “A trial run is always good. Be prepared ahead of time.”

Learn more at elisemcveigh.com. “The Mrs. McVeigh's Magnificent Manners Show” takes children through six manners lessons with books, fun worksheets, activity sheets and videos. For details, visit elisemcveigh.com/classes/online-classes/manners-show.