Middle schoolers don’t exactly have a reputation for being the most polite. However, that doesn’t mean you as a parent need to become resigned to dealing with sulky or disrespectful behavior.
Courtesy is an integral part of the Montessori middle school education, and practicing it can be a great way for your child to get ahead. It doesn’t take too much effort to help your middle school student learn and practice courtesy this summer. Here are some ways to start.
1. Incorporate Courtesy Into Everyday Interactions
Modeling good behavior is essential for kids of any age. Before you go about teaching your middle schoolers to be more courteous, make sure you are similarly respectful. After all, your child is unlikely to internalize courtesy if you’re snapping at them at every turn.
If your middle schooler doesn’t take your lead, gently point out any rude or disrespectful behavior. Then, suggest a more appropriate way to handle the current situation.
2. Encourage Your Kids to Volunteer
You’ve probably met at least one person who was respectful to colleagues and friends but rude to service workers. Plenty of adults haven’t realized that courtesy should extend to everyone around you.
Volunteering can help your child learn and practice courtesy. It doesn’t have to be a major time commitment — a few hours a week is great. Some opportunities even let your child get important outdoor time.
Whether it’s building houses with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at the local animal shelter, or spending time at a nursing home, the experience is sure to teach them something valuable. Volunteering can also boost your child’s self-esteem, which is important during the challenging middle school period.
3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Positive Reinforcement
It might not look like it on the surface, but middle schoolers appreciate praise. This summer, make an effort to “catch” your child being good. You don’t have to make a big deal of it; even something as simple as “I saw you help Mrs. Smith carry her groceries from the car, and I’m proud of you” will help your child learn and master courtesy.
4. Check Out an Etiquette Class
This one might be old-school, but an etiquette class can offer your child a fun, interactive way to learn and practice courtesy. Many of these classes focus on a range of key interpersonal skills:
- Dining etiquette
- Conversational skills
- Maintaining eye contact
- Writing thank-you notes
- Being a good host and guest
- Offering sincere apologies
- Mastering phone and social media manners
As a bonus, an etiquette class just might be a way for your middle schooler to make a new friend or two.
5. Identify What Causes Your Child to Be Disrespectful, and Help Them Work on It
If your middle schooler is typically courteous but slips up under stress, they aren’t alone. One way to help your child practice courtesy is to help them work on weak points. For example, it can be hard to be respectful when another child (or adult) is disrespecting them.
For situations like this, try teaching your child to de-escalate tense situations. If they can maintain courtesy and respect even when in a stressful or difficult situation, they will earn the respect of peers and teachers alike.
Help Your Child Grow with Montessori Middle School
At Montessori School of Flagstaff’s Cedar Campus, we offer a learning environment where middle schoolers can transform into self-actualized adults. If you want to help your child become their best self, please contact us to enroll today.