Manners are an important part of life, and it’s never too early to start teaching them to your young ones! Here are some tips to make the process easier.
1. Set an example
As with anything, kids learn from watching you. They will imitate your actions and words. So, make sure they have a good role model! For example, let them hear a lot of “please” and “thank you” from you. Even something as simple as politely acknowledging the child in conversation will help them understand how to address others. Remember, however, they will learn from your negative behavior as well. So, avoid things like telling little white lies, comparing your children to each other, or laughing at their bad behavior. These will all be noticed and imitated by them as well.
2. Start with the basics
Your children can be learning basic manners from an early age, such as simple polite phrases. Gradually add on as they get older. Move from polite words to lessons in etiquette, the danger of gossip, or how to talk on the phone. For a fun twist on teaching table manners, take an evening to host a practice dinner. Take an evening to use fancy dinner plates, dishes, and dress up. If the kids do well, consider rewarding them with a trip to a nice restaurant!
3. Going beyond the basics
As your kids get older, there will be plenty of opportunities to teach them more refined etiquette and basic life lessons about politeness. For example, teach them how to be a good guest at someone’s house by having them help clean up and take good care of the person’s living space. Or, talk with them about the importance of having respect for those older than them. But, be aware also of things that kids can often miss. For example, remind them write thank-you notes, or to hold the door open for others. The little things matter as well!
Although it can be a struggle sometimes, teaching manners will pay off in the end. It’s never too early to start learning how to be polite!