Having good manners is a way of life – not just something one does now and then. Good manners involves being aware of how others feel, and being polite and respectful to others. Children aren’t born with the skill of having good manners; they need to learn them.
Simple manners your child should know
Having manners is more than saying “please” and “thank you.” Good manners also include:
- Knocking on closed doors and waiting for a response before entering
- Not calling people mean names or making fun of others
- Saying “Excuse me” if you bump into someone
- Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Not picking your nose and using a tissue
- Holding the door open for others
- Asking to have things passed at the table versus reaching for them
- Responding to the question, “How are you?” and then asking the other person how he or she is
- Looking at the person you are speaking to
- Knowing it’s not appropriate to talk loud in quiet settings
- Not interrupting when people are talking to each other
Good manners matter
Children with good manners have better:
- Social skills and tend to be liked more by their peers
- Communication skills with the adults in their world
- Self-discipline skills
Teaching your child good manners
Teach your child good manners by:
- Being an example: If you want your child to hear what you say about being polite and respectful, you need to role model such behaviors. If your child hears you yelling at the person ahead of you that just cut you off in traffic, expect your child to behave the same way when riding his or her bike with others.
- Providing brief explanations: Children are more likely to accept that manners matter if they know the why behind the expected behavior. For example, keep your mouth closed when eating; others don’t want to see the food in your mouth while you are chewing it.
- Having reminder techniques: It can be hard for a child to learn not to interrupt others who are talking. Having an agreed upon signal such as a clearing of your throat or a wink can help remind your child to mind his or her manners in the moment.
- Acting out scenarios: Acting out different scenarios at home can give your child practice at using good manners. For example, practice saying, “thank you for having me over” after playing at a friend’s house.
- Writing notes: Have your child write thank you notes after receiving gifts from others.
Teaching your child to have good manners is an important social skill for him or her to have. Be a good role model and remember, teaching your child manners early will be a skill he or she will have for years to come.
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