Teach kids manners with these simple tricks and tips so they can grow into respectful and polite adults.
Today, we’re going to talk about something that is incredibly important when it comes to raising well-rounded and respectful children: manners. Maybe it’s because this topic is fresh on my brain with two young boys.
Growing up, my mom was always on me and my sisters about our manners. “Sit up straight, say please and thank you, ask nicely, look people in the eyes, hold your fork right, elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed!” While it drove me nuts as a kid, I’m so incredibly grateful for her drilling those lessons into us at an early age.
Manners are essentially the foundation of social skills, and they are something that should be taught to children from a young age. The earlier you start, the easier it is to instill good habits that will last a lifetime.
When it comes to business dinners, gatherings with friends, weddings and more, I’m forever grateful for the good manners my mom instilled in us. As a mom today, it’s something I’m working hard to teach my kids, and let me tell you, it requires bucket loads of patience!
Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I repeat myself every night, but I know that it’ll be worth it and that my kids will be grateful for it when they’re older.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into some tips and tricks for teaching kids manners!
7 Tricks to Teach Kids Manners & Raise Them to Be Polite and Respectful
Model Good Manners
Children learn by example, so it’s important that you practice good manners yourself. This means saying “please” and “thank you,” holding doors open for others, and showing kindness and respect to others.
When you consistently model good behavior, your child is more likely to adopt those habits as their own. So, be mindful of your own actions and make sure you’re setting a good example for your child. This might require you to make some changes of your own, but it’s worth it in the long run!
As I mentioned earlier, the earlier you start teaching your child manners, the easier it will be for them to develop those habits. Even toddlers can begin to learn basic manners like saying “please” and “thank you.”
Every single night, I repeat to my oldest, “please chew with your mouth closed,” and while it’s not anywhere near perfect, we’re making progress. Soon, it will be second nature.
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You can start by prompting your child to say “please” when they ask for something, and “thank you” when they receive it. Over time, they’ll begin to understand the meaning behind these words and use them on their own.
Make it Fun
Learning manners doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, you can make it fun for your child by turning it into a game. For example, you can play “manners bingo” where your child has to check off different manners they’ve used throughout the day.
Or, you can create a reward system where your child earns points or stickers for using good manners. The more they accumulate, the bigger the reward they receive. Our kids love a treat after dinner, so often that’s a reward we use.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Children respond best to positive reinforcement, so make sure to praise your child when they use good manners. I think we’ve all experienced this first hand.
When you praise something good they’ve done and give attention to that, they do it more. If they get negative attention, they continue to do it because they’re still getting attention.
Using positive attention will reinforce their behavior and encourage them to continue using good manners in the future.
For example, if your child says “thank you” after receiving a gift, you can say something like, “Wow, you have such great manners! You made Grandma really happy by thanking her for the gift.” Or, “You had such nice manners at dinner tonight, I’m so proud of how big and smart you are.”
Teach Basic Etiquette
In addition to saying “please” and “thank you,” there are other basic etiquette rules that children should learn. For example, they should learn how to introduce themselves and others, how to make eye contact and shake hands, how to act at the dinner table and how to use utensils properly.
You can teach these skills through role-playing exercises or by practicing them during family meals. This will help your child feel more comfortable in social situations and make a good impression on others.
Teaching manners takes time and patience, so don’t expect your child to become a manners expert overnight. Seriously, this is the ultimate practice in patience, but I know you can do it!
It’s okay if they forget to say “please” or “thank you” sometimes or make mistakes when using utensils.
Instead of getting frustrated or angry, use these moments as teaching opportunities. Remind your child of the correct way to behave and praise them when they make progress.
Finally, teaching manners is also about teaching empathy. When your child uses good manners, they are showing respect and consideration for others. Encourage your child to think about how their words and actions impact others and to be mindful of their behavior.
For example, if your child wants to interrupt a conversation, teach them to wait their turn and to say “excuse me” before speaking. This shows respect for the person they are interrupting and helps them feel heard and valued.
I’m currently working on this one (thanks to seeing this done in a Bluey episode!) because currently my kids just scream at me until I respond.
At the end of the day teaching manners is an important part of raising well-rounded and respectful children and one that takes time, patience and a whole lot of repetition. I hope these tips help you instill manners in your kids from an early age.
BTW, how to build confidence in your kids from a young age, and 6 simple ways to find yourself again after becoming a mom.