7 ways to Teach Kids Manners
Teaching manners to kids may seem overwhelming to parents, but it doesn’t have to be. Manners are an essential part of a young kid’s growth and development, as it helps build their social skills. Having social skills will help them build lifelong friends, do better at school and in their professional lives in the future. “Please” and “thank you” are just the tip of the iceberg. Manners is more than just teaching your kids how to respond to dinner table arguments, it’s about how your child sets a civil tone in society.
A well-mannered child will surely stand out for all the right reasons. Teaching manners may seem a little tricky, however, here are some strategies to teach your young ones manners:
1. Praise Your Child’s Use of Manners: Kids are motivated by enthusiasm and appreciation, so don’t forget to praise your child whenever you catch him using good manners. Any good manner that they practice is worth the acknowledgement. If you’ve got a younger child, provide praise right away.
2. Teach Them About Sensitivity: The root of good manners is respect for another person, and the root of respect is sensitivity. Teaching your kids about sensitivity begins at an early stage in one’s life. A sensitive person naturally cares about another person’s feelings, which helps them 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.
3. Model Polite Behaviour: Kids mirror everything that you do, so the best way to teach your child any new skill is to be a good role model. When your child sees you speaking politely to others and using your manners, he’ll pick up on that and want to be that same person. Show appreciation when people are kind, because whether you’re in line at the grocery store or even having a conversation with a family member, your kids are paying attention to your behavior.
4. Setup Play Dates: Play dates are a safe space to practice manners. Help your child be on their best behaviour when they are well rested and comfortable. Plan play dates around naps or meals. Teach your child to share and use basic manners like “please” and “thank you” with their friends. Encourage good behaviour and also don’t forget to acknowledge if they share a snack or a toy. Ensure your child thanks the host and ask them to appreciate and let them know about what a good time they had.
5. Roleplay tricky situations: Role-playing is a great opportunity for kids to practice their skills. It can be a helpful strategy when you're entering into a new situation or when you're facing some complicated circumstances. Encourage practicing “what would you do if” situations with your kid. Pretend to be a friend or another adult and see how your child responds to specific situations. Then, provide feedback and help your child discover how to behave politely and respectfully in various scenarios.
6. Have Age-Appropriate Expectations: Give your child the time they need and ensure your expectations are appropriate to your child’s age and developmental level. With toddlers, you can start working on the basics of saying “please,” “thank you,” and “sorry.” For preschoolers or even teenagers, focus on advanced skills like phone etiquette and more complex communication skills, that will help them in their social skills in the future. Don’t give your child too much to learn at once. It’s a slow process and giving them too much may leave them feeling overwhelmed. It’s common too for previous skills to be revisited from time to time to make sure your child is remembering to use them.
7. 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, rigidly adhere to asking them for the “magic word” before you give your child what he wants. When you remind a child to say “please,” do so as part of good speech, not as a requirement for getting what he wants.
Polite behaviour will surely help your child go a long way, in their personal and professional life. Learning manners is a lifelong education that will help your child have more engaging conversations and better confidence. Always be kind, polite, and courteous in front of your child so that they have a positive role model to look up to. Yes, we all have our bad days, but try your absolute best to express anger and impatience in a healthy way in front of your child.