Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elderly Etiquette Reminders for Children

It’s that time of year when family and friends gather for holiday meals. Since few elderly live with children these days, it might be a good time to review how kids should engage with and treat their elders.

1. Show Respect:  Children may need to have the term 
    “respect” qualified.  Children can show respect by….

    - greeting elders and exchanging a few polite words:
      "Hi, Uncle Fred, it’s nice to see you.”

    - using proper titles of Mr., Mrs., etc. Children may know how 
      to address Grandma and Uncle, but what about the 70 year
      old neighbor that you call "Joe" or "Sandy"  

    - stepping up to assist in someway,
      “can I hold the door/take your jacket?”

2. Safety
    Remind kids to..
    - pick up any toys or belongings the elderly might trip over

    - be patient. Don’t try to squeeze past the elderly when stuck behind them in the hall
    - not run or horse play near where an elderly person it standing.

3. Kindness
    - The elderly might not be able to hear/understand what children are trying to say, so it
      might be nice to share an idea through a drawing or by coloring a picture.

    - If the older person has difficulty with mobility, children can offer them something to
      drink and/or deliver hors d’oeuvre etc..

4. Fun
    Bring generation gaps together by..

    - playing a simple game such as cards or checkers

    - deomonstrating a magic trick,  reciting a poem or singing a song.

5. Enough is enough
   - Remind kids that the elderly might not like excessive or prolonged activity around

   - Allow the elderly time to speak with other adults without interruption

   - Take loud or rambunctious activities outside or to another room

Most importantly we should convey to our children the value of our elderly. They should be put on a pedestal and appreciated for their knowledge, life experience and wisdom. After all, we will all be there one day too.

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