Teaching your kids good manners gives them confidence and makes them more pleasant to be around. A child who is respectful and considerate of others often gets the same treatment in return. Manners are an important social skill that is necessary for people to live together, according to Ask Dr Sears.
Children with bad manners not only offend people, their manners can reflect badly on their parents. Starting from an early age, begin modeling good manners to your child, such as teaching your child to share by sharing with her. When you notice she is being good, praise her for being polite.
Saying “Please” and “Thank You”
Teaching your children to say “please” and “thank you” is a way of teaching them to respect other people's feelings and show gratitude when someone helps them or gives them something. You can model this behavior yourself by always using “please” and “thank you” with your kids when they are very young. When they're older, don't give them the thing they want until they say, “please,” and remind them to say “thank you” and “you're welcome.”
Showing consideration for other people's feelings is an important part of good manners. Teaching a child to apologize when she has hurt or offended someone helps her remember to think about other people's feelings. Apologizing is also a way of smoothing over an argument without an adult's intervention.
It's important for children to remember not to do things to other people that they don't like having done to themselves. Make sure the child understands why it's necessary to be considerate. If your child does something rude or mean to another child, remind her how she feels when the same thing is done to her. Teach your child other ways of being considerate, such as holding doors for people, being polite at the table and showing good sportsmanship whether she wins or loses. She should also know why it's not polite to interrupt when people are talking or why people don't like being stared at or pointed at.
Although U.S. culture is becoming increasingly less formal, many adults prefer that children don't call them by their first names. A child should address adults by how they introduce themselves, even if you call the adults by their first names. If a child must address an adult she doesn't know, she should always say “Excuse me” first, then call the person “sir” or “ma'am.”
People might be offended when a greeting is not returned or when they come to a home and are not acknowledged. Young toddlers might feel too shy to answer every grown-up's greeting, but you can encourage her to respond until she's old enough to do it on her own. When a guest comes to your home, make sure your children stop what they're doing long enough to say “hello” and exchange pleasantries. Older children may be encouraged to smile, make eye contact or shake hands with adults they greet.