Wednesday: Mid Week Ramblings—Teaching Children Manners

How to Teach Your Child Good Manners

by Nellie Graham

When children are polite, kind, and honest, they develop character and make their parents proud. Mannered children grow into mannered adults and it is never too early or too late to teach your child about manners.

Show the example – When our children see you being polite to others, they are given the best role model. If you expect this of your children, you should also say “please” and “thank you” when asking them to do something. Take care what language you use around children; they mimic the way adults speak.

Using proper words – Start using words and phrases like ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ and ‘may I?’ as early as possible around your child. Encourage your child to do the same.

Recognize your child’s polite moments – Praise her for her good manners. My daughter’s favorite thing to do while we are at the post office is to open the door for others. She is amazed and disappointed at how few adults thank her. When a child, any child, is polite to you, remember to acknowledge them. By doing so, you’re reinforcing polite behavior.

Avoid ignoring bad behavior – Address a rule as soon as your child breaks it. Bring up the behavior again in private so you can discuss it more thoroughly and make sure your child understands how to behave in the future.

Teach kindness to your child – Kindness to animals can be taught at an early age by showing babies and toddlers how to pet and be gentle with stuffed animals. Also, children often show their anger by hitting or screaming at other children. Teach them how to properly handle anger toward others.

Teach your child the phone manners – It’s best if they do not answer your phone until they understand proper phone etiquette. It may sound cute to you, but not to the person calling, when a child yells into the phone: “Who is this?” or “What do you want?” Once you begin allowing him to answer the phone, make up a small list to set beside the phone giving him instructions.

Review the other basics of etiquette – Your child should learn how to shake hands, show respect for older people, behave quietly in public places, and avoid interrupting other people in conversation.

Encourage honesty in your children – If you know your child is lying, don’t accuse. Instead, tell him how special the truth is and how proud you are when he is truthful. Then wait for his conscience to go to work.

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