As a mom of two little boys (age 5 and 3) all I want is for them to grow up into nice, sweet men that are kind to other people and have good manners. I am no expert (AT ALL), but here are eight easy things we have been doing in my house to *hopefully* help these little guys grow up to be gentlemen.
8 easy things we do to help our boys grow up to be gentlemen
- If they are the first one out the door, have them hold it open for everyone else. The same goes for when you are out in public! Have them hold it open for strangers. I often encourage this by saying, “You’re so strong!” and “What a gentleman you are!”.
- Make a rule at home that no one gets to start eating until everyone at the table is seated with their food.
- Teach them to look for the best in others and say it out loud! My husband is great about giving out compliments. If he says it, he truly means it. I want my boys to be the same way! I’ve found that leading by example, and complimenting my boys, encourages them to do it to others. Here are some ways to compliment your boys outside of saying anything about their appearance (which I still think is totally great to compliment!):
- “I love the way you…”
- “What a kind thing to do!”
- “You are so brave!”
- “I could tell you were working hard at that and really using your brain.”
- “What good manners you have!”
- “You make me so proud.”
- “I love the outfit you picked out today.”
- “What a good choice you made!”
- We often bring flowers to my kids’ teachers for holidays, like Valentine’s Day or the last day of school. I am a girl that loves to receive flowers, and I want my boys to know that giving flowers is a really thoughtful thing to do for someone else! We just get inexpensive (but cute) grocery store flowers and I make a point to ask them which bunch their teacher would like. I want them to really think about what their teacher would like and make a decision based on that. Plus, there is nothing sweeter than watching a little boy carry a bunch of bouquets of flowers!
- Instill empathy. We’ve had some people in our lives go through some tough things lately. For example, our neighbors lost their beloved dog in the past couple of months. I told my boys exactly what happened and I mentioned that it might be nice if we did something for them because they were feeling sad. We drew pictures and baked them some cookies to help them feel a little better. I want them to be aware of other people’s feelings and actively think of ways to make others feel better.
- Show them the words. Kids do not automatically know the right things to say. I’m often prompting my boys with the right types of phrases to say to others. We had someone close to us who was sick and I told my son to say “Feel better soon!”. He would have never known to say this on his own, but it made our friend’s day, and it gave him the words to use that he wouldn’t have thought of himself. Something little like this can be something that he remembers and uses down the road!
- Teach them that when someone says “hello” or “goodbye” to you (or asks you a question), you respond. Always.
- Good manners are a must. This one I give all of the credit to my husband for. If my boys say “I want a snack”, my husband responds with “no”. They do not get a snack (or whatever they want) unless they say “May I please…”. Once they hear “no” they pretty much always rephrase the request in a nicer way.