Manners may seem old-fashioned, but they can have a big impact on your child’s relationships and social life. Kids who are rude can cause a lot of damage in one short moment.
Developing good manners takes time and practice. It also requires a consistent, positive approach. Teachable moments are abundant, so grabbing them to teach your child social etiquette is essential.
Enrolling your child in a children etiquette class offers structured guidance. Here are tips to teach children etiquette through consistent, positive practices.
Instilling good manners requires patience, especially when kids are young. They’re sponges, soaking up what they observe in their everyday environments. This is why it’s so important to teach them manners at a very early age.
Manners go beyond simply saying “please” and “thank you” and keeping elbows off the table. They include addressing adults by their names, shaking hands in greeting, asking before touching someone or something that isn’t yours, being inclusive and empathetic, using inside voices, and being patient.
Children who display these characteristics are more likely to be popular with their peers. They’ll have more positive experiences with others, resulting in higher self-esteem and confidence. Studies have also shown that rude behavior triggers pain regions in the brain, which can lead to aggression. Teaching your children good manners will help them avoid these negative consequences.
When kids know proper etiquette and manners, it makes it easier for them to be comfortable in new situations. For example, if they are the new kid at school or attending a party with many children they may feel more confident when they have the skills to introduce themselves and talk appropriately in conversation.
This is why parents should be proactive in teaching their kids good table manners, how to greet people properly, why holding doors still matters, and how to use utensils correctly. It also means setting a good example by treating friends, family members, and even strangers with respect.
Try using a small jar to write down the times you catch your child being polite and then counting them monthly for rewards. Kids learn best when they are rewarded for their positive behaviors so it is an effective tool to teach kids proper manners.
If children have good manners and respect for others, they’ll naturally feel more confident in their relationships. This is because they understand how important it is to treat people with courtesy and respect—and that applies to everyone from friends to teachers to neighbors.
Manners are more than just saying please and thank you, keeping elbows off the table, and not burping or chewing with your mouth open. They also include fostering trustworthiness, being a considerate passenger on rides, holding doors for people, being empathetic and inclusive, using inside voices, addressing adults by their name, and knowing how to negotiate conflicts fairly.
Parents can instill a love for politeness and etiquette by modeling it themselves and reading books on the subject. They can also encourage their kids to think about how they’ll behave in different scenarios such as the new kid at school or being invited to a party where they don’t know many other people.
Parents play a critical role in molding their child’s etiquette. Kids are like sponges, absorbing the behavior and habits that they see their parents practicing. If they regularly witness their mom or dad using rude language around other people, or barging into a friend’s house without knocking, their own courtesy will suffer. However, if they are consistently told to say please and thank you and how to use their utensils properly, they are more likely to develop good etiquette habits.
To teach children proper etiquette, parents should set the example through their own actions, and then regularly reinforce these skills with age-appropriate activities such as family dinner conversations, meaningful story books and role playing. It is also important for parents to remain calm when their kids make mistakes so that they can continue to learn from them. Avoid yelling or punishing, as this will only derail their learning and cause them to lose confidence in themselves.