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.