Via 7 Ways to Teach Your Child Good Manners

Modeling behaviors is the best way to teach your child good manners

Every parent dreams of the polite little child who says “please” and “thank you.” After all, your child’s behavior reflects on you. Manners come easily to some children while others struggle. Understanding the basis of good manners will help you teach your child good manners. Good manners, after all, are necessary for people to live together in this world. Gracious manners reflect a loving and considerate personality.

1. Expect respect

Believe it or not, you begin to teach your child good manners at birth, but you don’t call them that. The root of good manners is respect for another person; and the root of respect is sensitivity. Sensitivity is one of the most valuable qualities you can instill into your child — and it begins in infancy. The sensitive infant will naturally become the respectful child who, because he cares for another’s feelings, will naturally become a well-mannered person. His politeness will be more creative and more heartfelt than anything he could have learned from a book of etiquette. In recent years it has become socially correct to teach children to be “assertive.” Being assertive is healthy as long as it doesn’t override politeness and good manners.

2. Teach polite words early

Even two-year-olds can learn to say “please” and “thank you.” Even though they don’t yet understand the social graciousness of these words, the toddler concludes that “please” is how you get what you want and “thank you” is how you end an interaction. At least you’ve planted these social niceties into your child’s vocabulary; later they will be used with the understanding that they make others feel good about helping you. When you ask your toddler to give you something, open with “please” and close with “thank you.” Even before the child grasps the meaning of these words she learns they are important because mommy and daddy use them a lot and they have such nice expressions on their faces when they say these words. Children parrot these terms and understand their usefulness long before they understand their meaning.

3. Model manners

From age two to four, what Johnny hears, Johnny says. Let your child hear a lot of “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and “excuse me” as you interact with people throughout the day. And address your little person with the same politeness you do an adult. Let your child catch the flavor of polite talk.

4. Teach name-calling

We have always made a point of opening each request by using the name of our child: “Jim, will you do this for me?” Our children picked up on this social nicety and address us by title: “Dad, may I…” or “Mom, would you…” When he was eight, our son Matthew made all of these language tools part of his social self. Matthew concluded that if he timed his approach for the right moment, looked me in the eye or touched my arm, addressed me as “Dad…,” and adds a “please” or “may I,” he could get just about anything he wants. Even when I know I’m being conned, I’m a pushover for politeness. Although Matthew didn’t always get his politely-presented wish, I always acknowledged his use of good manners.

5. Acknowledge the child

The old adage “children should be seen and not heard” was probably coined by a childless person. Include your child in adult goings-on, especially if there are no other children present. When you and your child are in a crowd of mostly adults, tuning out your child is asking for trouble. Even a child who is usually well-behaved will make a nuisance of herself in order to break through to you. Including the child teaches social skills, and acknowledging her presence shows her that she has value.

Stay connected with your child in situations that put her at risk for undesirable behavior. During a visit with other adults, keep your younger child physically close to you (or you stay close to him) and maintain frequent verbal and eye contact. Help your older child feel part of the action so that he is less likely to get bored and wander into trouble.

6. Don’t force manners.

Language is a skill to be enjoyed, not forced. While it’s okay to occasionally dangle a “say please” over a child before you grant the request don’t, like pet training, rigidly adhere to asking for the “magic word” before you give your child what he wants. The child may tire of these polite words even before he understands them. When you remind a child to say “please,” do so as part of good speech, not as a requirement for getting what he wants. And be sure he hears a lot of good speech from you. Overdo politeness while you’re teaching it and he’ll catch the idea faster. “Peas” with a grin shows you the child is feeling competent in her ability to communicate.

7. Correct politely

As a Little League baseball coach, I learned to “chew out a child” — politely. When a child made a dumb play (which is to be expected), I didn’t rant and rave like those overreacting coaches you see on television. Instead, I keep my voice modulated, look the child straight in the eye, and put my hand on his shoulder during my sermon. These gestures reflect that I am correcting the child because I care, not because I am out of control. My politeness showed him that I value him and want him to learn from his mistakes so he becomes a better player, and the child listens. I hope someday that same child will carry on these ball field manners when he becomes a coach.

Have you ever wondered why some children are so polite? The main reason is they are brought up in an environment that expects good manners. One day I noticed an English family entering a hotel. The father looked at his two sons, ages five and seven, and said, “Now chaps, do hold the door for the lady,” which they did. I asked him why his children were so well-mannered. He replied, “We expect it.”

Via Everyday Family: 10 Manners Your Kid Should Know by Age 5

Kids are never too young to learn manners. In fact, in a day and age when we are seeing more teenagers lacking in the manners department, it seems more important than ever that parents start early in teaching their children how to interact with the world. The truth is your child will get further in life and will be more respected by adults and playmates alike if they learn manners.

Whenever I see a child without a clue about how to act in public or how to interact with adults, I immediately blame the parents. Very young children are not just developmentally ready, but eager to learn how to appropriately engage with others socially.

How to say “please” and “thank you”

“‘Please’ and ‘thank you,” in the words of Barney the Purple Dinosaur, “truly are the magic words.” And this little tidbit of mannerly behavior can be taught even before your child is able to talk. Making “please” and “thank you” a habit in the home makes these courtesies a habit in life.

How to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough

Spittle flying from little noses and mouths is just plain gross. Trust me: teachers appreciate children who know this before they get to school.

How to ASK before taking

There is nothing more disturbing than a child who hasn’t yet learned that they aren’t the center of the universe. Children should ASK before taking something that is not theirs, and this includes Mom and Dad’s stuff.

How to say sorry: for real

Not the kind of “I’m sorry” that means nothing because they were forced to say it by an angry parent. Empathy is definitely a life skill.

How to say “Excuse me!”

Children are naturally impatient. Far too often, you see parents who jump every time their child interrupts them. Children need to learn when they can and when they cannot interrupt people, they and should learn how to gently say “excuse me,” rather than insist on incessant tapping and saying “Mama, Mama, Mama.”

How to sit quietly

It’s rude to talk through an entire movie. Kids need to learn how to calm down their wiggles and giggles in less-than-interesting situations. Patience is a definitely a virtue.

How to eat at the dinner table

OK, so my dinner table is at times pure pandemonium. Still, my kids know how to use their cutlery and how NOT to talk with their mouths full. And when we are not at home, manners are a must — even for my 5-year-old.

Not to make fun of people

Toddlers and young children are notorious for pointing out gigantic moles or fat people in public, but parents must teach children that sometimes comments like these hurt feelings unnecessarily. It’s not nice to make fun of people or point out their flaws.

How to be helpful and compassionate

Hold a door open for someone that has their hands full. Ask their teacher or parent if they need help with chores. Recognizing ways to be helpful and compassionate to others is a gift that children can learn early in life — a gift that will make them feel good about themselves and be well liked by others.

Mom-ma’s Review

I completely agree that children are never too young to learn good manners and it should start right from birth and not wait until they are off schooling age. Even before they could talk when it’s just us talking to them, we ourselves have to get into the habit of practicing common forms of courtesy when interacting with them. Eventually, when they are old enough to imitate and understand they will follow suit.

My eldest child who is 7 now sometimes speaks and act like I do. I have my crazy mom moments which I’m not proud off, like the occasional (ok maybe more that I’d like to admit) raising my voice to get my message across. When that happens, I tend to forget my manners. I’m not perfect and she’s there to remind me to keep my manners in checked. So it’s still a work in progress for all of us (my husband and son included) so here are some common courtesy practice we should teach our children.

Source: Children’s Publishing – Your children are never too young to learn good manners.  Actually, in today’s world where we are seeing more and more younglings exhibiting misbehavior and bad manners, it seems more important now for parents to start teaching courtesy to their children as early as possible.

The following are the common forms of courtesy that you must impart to your children:

#1 Magic Words: “Please” and “Thank you”

According to the well-loved Barney the purple dinosaur, these are magic words. Developing good breeding starts with learning when to say “please” and “thank you.”

Teach your child to say “please” every time he/she needs a favor and to say “thank you” every time a favor is done for him/her.

#2 Good table manners

Good manners extend to the dining area as well. It is important to teach your kids the following table etiquette:

  • Wash your hands before eating
  • Keep your mouth closed as you chew
  • Don’t talk when your mouth is full
  • Place the table napkin on your lap
  • Wipe your mouth with napkin

When your kids practice these at home, they will know how to act appropriately when you bring them with you at dinners and gatherings.

#3 Ask before you take

When a kid takes something from another kid without any permission at all, it can create conflict – not only between the younglings, but between the parents as well. Teach your kids to ask before taking something that isn’t theirs. The lack of knowledge of this etiquette may result in bigger problems, such as theft, as your kid becomes older.

#4 Knock before entering

One way of being polite is by knocking on the door before entering a room. Whether it is the bedroom, bathroom, or any other room in your home or in other places, your kid must learn how to knock.

#5 Say sorry because you mean it

These days, the word “sorry” is spoken by a lot of people without actually meaning it. The best way to instill empathy and sincerity into your child is by teaching him/her how to say “sorry” when he/she truly feels sorry.

#6 Don’t point at people

When you were a kid, your parents probably told you that when you point your finger at a person, your other three fingers are pointing back at you. Pass this wisdom to your kids too. In many cultures, just like in America and Europe, pointing a finger at someone is considered as a rude gesture because it hints superiority over someone.

#7 Cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing

Covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing isn’t only a form of good manners, but it also promotes good hygiene as it inhibits bacteria from spreading and infecting other people. Teach your children this kind of manner as early as possible, even before he/she starts going to school.

#8 “Excuse me”

Kids are impatient by nature. If they need something from you, they’ll ask for it right there and then, even when you’re in the middle of something. You may have noticed some kids interrupt their parent’s conversation with other people, calling out to the mother or father repeatedly, and in return, the parent gets angry at the kid for doing so. Refine your kid’s upbringing by teaching him/her how to say “excuse me.”

#9 “Hello” and “Goodbye”

Teaching kids social graces such as “hello” and “goodbye” is not only a way to develop respect and good manners, but a way to develop their social skills. It encourages them to talk and recognize other people’s presence.

Tip: Practice what you preach. You will be more effective in imparting good manners and right conduct on your kids if they see that you are applying these to yourself as well.

P.S. What other forms of good manners and etiquette for kids do you know? Feel free to share them!      More on tips about empowering children here or read 10 Ways to Teach Kids Common Courtesy 

Mom-ma’s Review

What is certainly not lacking in the current world is information. There are many ways to impart knowledge and information to our children. What works for our kids would be by us setting the right example, they really do what we do so our action speaks louder than words. Besides that educational television, videos and books are some of the other methods we have tried. So if you are in need of a little bit of ideas on how to teach your kids common courtesy, here are some ways to do so.

Source : Babysitters . Although, many forms of courtesy seem to be slipping out of modern day society, the basic, common courtesies still remain the standard of civilized society. Part of the reason for this being the fact that, small courtesies still demonstrate respect and thereby encourage civil interaction between human beings. If you want your kids to be a positive influence on society,. to learn to treat all others with mutual respect, you will want to teach them the protocols of common courtesy.

  1. Role Model – The first step in teaching children anything is always to model it yourself. Kids quickly pick up the actions and manners of their parents if they see them consistently modelled in front of them.
  2. Role Playing – This is another good way to teach specific courtesies, especially when the kids will be encountering a new social situation. Role play the situation with the children. Demonstrate how to politely greet people they will encounter and practice it with them. Do the same for table manners, especially if they will be attending a more formal dinner occasion.
  3. Books – There are lots of great books written for small children that teach manners and common courtesies in a story form. Don’t just read the stories, but talk with your kids about how they should apply the lessons in their own lives.
  4. Videos – Many of your kids favorite video characters will have DVD’s that teach life lessons for kids; courtesy and manners are usually included as a part of these life lessons.
  5. Educational television – Educational programming on television also is a good source for your kids to learn common courtesies. You don’t have to wait for programs specifically focused on that issue. On any program that your kids are watching, you can point out when the characters are being courteous and when they are not to help reinforce what you are teaching at home.
  6. Tea parties – Tea parties are a fun way to teach children how to use their courtesy training. Girls especially enjoy acting ‘grownup’ and mimicking their parent’s polite behavior.
  7. Captain, May I – This old childhood game helps teach children the difference between politely asking, ‘May I’ do something and just doing it without asking permission first.
  8. Correction – Gentle correction of your children as they learn these courtesy lessons will help reinforce them, as well. ‘What do you say?’ has been used as the reminder by many parents to help their children to remember to use their please and thank yous, when appropriate.
  9. Basic instruction – Simply telling your children what the rules of courtesy are, is a good starting place. Explain to them when they should say ‘Excuse me’ and teach them offer preference to older people who may move slower than they do.
  10. Family table – Teach table manners at the family table that you expect your children to use when they are at a restaurant or the guests at someone else’s home. If they are used to behaving with the same courtesies in their everyday life, they will not have any trouble carrying them over to other situations.

Courtesy towards others always encourages courtesy towards yourself, as well. It is important that a household set their own standards of proper courtesy and not let current society determine it for them.