How to teach your children etiquette, manners while stuck at home

Learning from home has been a new and sometimes challenging experience for many families through this pandemic.

DETROIT – Learning from home has been a new and sometimes challenging experience for many families through this pandemic.

As the school year wraps up, there’s a different kind of lesson you can pass on to your children -- manners.

Read more: Kids at Home

With so much going on with our children at home these days, one local mother is finding a way to show your little ones at home how to make sure they mind their manners.

“A lot of times people think etiquette is about being stuffy, and a lot of rules," said Danielle Kovachevich. “I actually would like to politely disagree and say that it’s actually about an awareness of how we make people feel. It’s about kindness.”

Kovachevich is a mother of four and an expert on manners.

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“I think the best thing we can do during this time as educators and parents is to show kindness and model kind behaviors," Kovachevich said. "I think that’s really impactful for our children.”

Kovachevich runs the Detroit Academy of Etiquette and since her own children have been home from school, she’s been coming up with ways to help them brush up on their manners.

“I’ve come up with a couple things that I believe could help with self esteem and optimism and some of the frustrations we’re all having," she said.

She introduces simple life skill lessons once a week, every Monday -- which the family now calls “Manners Monday" -- then the family has the whole week to work on it.

“I tried to make these few little skills tips lessons," Kovachevich said. "I guess you could call them easy to incorporate into your everyday routine so that it’s nothing too crazy and it should be manageable for your family.”

The first one she usually starts with basic table manners for little ones -- like how to pass food.

“If you are sitting at the table, and there’s a bread basket, if you are the closest one to the bread basket, you want to grab the basket and offer it to the person to the left, take yours, and then passed to the right,” Kovachevich said. “It’s your responsibility because you’re sitting closest to whatever it is that you would like to have, but you want to offer to the left, take yours and pass to the right.”

The next area, she has kids in quarantine focus on is their digital manners -- for all those meetings they’re now having online.

“When they get set up to do their Zoom meeting, be prepared. Treat it like an actual school day for school," Kovachevich said. "You would take a shower, you would get dressed, you do your hair, you brush your teeth. You want to do those same things for an actual virtual meeting.”

Since children are missing out on a lot of face to face interaction these days, and spending more time than ever in front of screens, Kovachevich said this is the perfect opportunity to teach children about some of the more old fashioned ways of communicating -- like a handwritten letter.

“Think of someone in your life, maybe it’s a grandparent or someone who lives alone or someone you miss, and get out some stationery and a pen and write a letter. There’s studies showing that when you actually write a letter, it engages different parts of your brain," Kovachevich said. "It boosts your endorphins which makes us feel good. And how wonderful for someone we care about to get a surprise in the mail, you know? People don’t do that very often. So having your child once a week write a little note to someone and learn how to address the envelope with a stamp, a lot of a lot of older kids don’t even know how to do that.”

Kovachevich has been holding virtual classes and a portion of the proceeds from those classes is going to first responders. More information can be found here.

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.