Teach children good manners with these simple positive parenting tips. Teaching kids good manners doesn’t have to be difficult… Learn how to teach kids good manners the easy way!
Teach kids good manners the easy way.
If you want children to learn good manners, use good manners with them and in front of them. They are watching and learning from absolutely everything that you do and say!
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How to Teach Good Manners to Your Child
The easiest way I have found to teach kids good manners is to use good manners with them and in their presence.
Be the best example you can, and they will show you what they have learned!
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The Power of Example
Children are like little sponges that soak up how we relate to our world and then mirror it back to us. If you always say please, thank you, excuse me, etc., children will naturally begin to use good manners, too!
If you don’t use good manners with children, they will be unlikely to ever use them with you. Kids learn from what they see and show us what they have learned.
Children will not use good manners right away any more than they will use full sentences when they first learn to talk. However, if you continue to model good behavior, kids will begin to use good manners over time.
When you say please and thank you to your child, those words and their proper use will inevitably work its way into your child’s vocabulary. It’s natural law. Monkey see monkey do; monkey hear, monkey say.
Conversely, when we demonstrate anger or use swear words, instead of good manners, that’s what our children will learn to imitate. Your example matters, make it a good one.
Show But Don’t Tell
As parents, we are always teaching our kids by our own example. We must also allow our children the opportunity to learn to make their own choices and show us that they can learn how to use good manners.
Never force children to say something that they have not learned to say for themselves. Instead, guide or remind children to use good manners when needed, as opposed to telling them that they must.
In my many years of experience as a psychologist, educator, and coach I have never met a child that responds well to force. Children respond best to positive role models and gentle reminders as opposed to must’s, should’s and because I said so’s.
Part of learning from what they see is also understanding the underlying emotions present in our everyday interactions. How can you learn to feel thankful when you are forced to say thank you before you feel it? Or understand what you are saying and why?
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Be Open to Miracles
I will never forget the time period when my daughter began using good manners with complete strangers. She was about 2 and a half years old at the time.
We were in the grocery store one day when my daughter accidentally brushed the leg of the lady standing behind us in line. When my daughter looked up at this woman and said, “I’m sorry.” I was floored!
Do you think I taught my daughter to say sorry when she accidentally bumps into people? Nope!
Did I ask her to say sorry at that moment? Absolutely not! I was busy putting the groceries onto the conveyor belt.
The short answer is that our daughter learned how to respond when you accidentally bump into someone by watching how the people in her world relate to each other.
Once she understood the concept and found herself bumping into someone, she showed us how people respond when they accidentally bump into someone! She even demonstrated the use of a different word in another situation with another total stranger on a different day.
A few days later, we were in a crowded location attempting to cross the room when she almost ran into a man. I heard her say, “Excuse me” as they passed each other. It was so loud and crowded that he didn’t even notice, but I did. I was so proud that I beamed from ear to ear!
There are No Bad Kids
Instead of telling children that they are a good girl or boy when they are using good manners, and a bad girl or boy when they are not, complement, encourage, and guide.
A child is not bad just because they make a bad choice. Children respond best when we complement their efforts and guide their actions instead of telling them that they have been good or bad.
There are no bad kids, only bad choices. Help your children learn to make positive ones!
Complement, Encourage and Guide
When children use bad manners guide them to make another choice. As children begin to use good manners, complement and encourage these first efforts. Make them feel good about using good manners and they will continue to use them. It’s magic!
As an example, after my daughter bumped into the lady behind us in line, I waited until we were safely in the privacy of our own car before I shared what I saw, and, how proud of her I was about telling the woman that she was sorry for accidentally bumping into her.
Because I took the time to complement and encourage her effort as opposed to telling her that she was a good girl, I saw the behavior repeated only a few days later when she almost ran into the gentleman crossing the room.
Make children feel good about using good manners, and they will want to use them over and over again!
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Don’t Expect Perfection
Don’t get me wrong. My child is not little miss perfect manners. She can be quite the terror at times. Other times I am in disbelief of how incredibly polite she is learning to become. Be a good role model and be patient with them.
Learning good manners and how to use them takes time and practice. Besides, most children are shy and have trouble feeling comfortable speaking up for themselves, talking to strangers, and knowing the proper words to say.
Allow children the chance to observe interactions and learn how to use good manners for a while.
Complement and encourage their efforts and teach them to use good manners with your example, as opposed to telling children that they have been good or bad.
How to Teach Kids Good Manners the Easy Way
If you want your kids to have good manners take the easy way. Use good manners with them and in front of them. They are watching and learning from absolutely everything that you do and say. Be the best example you can.
Children are like little sponges that soak up how we relate to our world and mirror it back to us. Complement and encourage their efforts and teach them to use good manners with your example.
If You Liked Teaching Children Good Manners, You may also like:
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- 12 Positive Discipline Books for Parents and Caregivers
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…