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It is never too early to start teaching your child the importance of good manners and etiquette. Children at a young age have incredibly absorbent brains. They remember what they are taught with clarity and their minds absorb everything much faster than they would at a later age.
Manners and etiquette in children is an indicator that they have been brought up well. Teaching good manners to kids may be quite a task, but make sure not to lose patience with your child. After all, being patient is also good etiquette. And kids learn from adults being good role models. Therefore, it is important that we as adults and parents exhibit the best manners in front of our children, so that they can watch and learn.
Instilling good manners in your child also makes him or her an overall pleasant person, polite, kind and more likely to succeed in life. In this article, we will look at a list of 20 good manners that your child should know and learn.
Why Children Should Be Taught Good Manners
Children with good manners always have an edge over others, whether it is academically or socially. Here are some ways in which good manners benefit children.
1. Boosts Self-Esteem
Being rewarded for having good manners and seeing a positive impact of their behaviour in the real world makes children feel more confident. Feeling worthy of respect is a great confidence booster.
2. Social Life
Kids that are generally rude or aggressive attract the wrong kind of crowd, whereas kids who treat their peers and friends kindly and with respect are more popular and attract more loyal people who mirror their behaviour. Good manners lead to stronger and more positive relationships.
3. Better Opportunities
Well mannered children stand out from the crowd and are handed better opportunities in their academic life, as well as career. Polite people are likely to be employed and grow faster in their career
Doing one good deed or seeing a positive response from someone gives people a sense of happiness and satisfaction, and they are likely to repeat this behaviour, building a habit. Good manners result in happier children.
1. Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’
This is one of the first basic manners to teach your child. The importance of saying ‘please’ when asking for something and ‘thank you’ when receiving something should be instilled in children, from the start. Put this into practice at all times, so it will eventually come naturally to them.
2. Asking before Taking Anything
Children should learn to ask permission before taking anything that is not theirs, even with people like Mom and Dad. They should also be taught to return anything they have borrowed, with proper thanks.
3. Saying ‘Sorry’
Along with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, saying sorry when you have done something wrong is also an important habit to instil in your child. Teach your child when and where to say sorry, and not use it casually. Empathy is a skill they have to imbibe.
4. Knocking on Doors Before Entering
Kids should be taught that privacy is paramount, especially at home. They should know that it is respectful to knock on someone’s door and ask permission before entering the room. Doing so in front of your kids will help them pick it up as a good habit.
5. Covering One’s Mouth When Sneezing or Coughing
Teach your kids to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Also, teach them that picking one’s nose in public is considered rude and unpleasant. This is not only a part of good manners, but also hygiene.
6. Saying ‘Excuse Me’
This is another basic manner for children to learn. Children are naturally impatient, so they have to be taught to say ‘excuse me’ and ask permission to talk. They should also know when and how to enter a conversation without interrupting anyone.
7. Not Making Fun of People
This should be taught very early on, as if it is not, children might think it is okay to make fun of people. They should be taught that it is never okay to hurt someone’s feelings by making fun of them or bullying them in public or private.
8. Phone Etiquette
Your child should know how to talk on the phone and also be silent and listen when someone on the other end is talking. This will help make him/her leave a good impression on people.
9. Showing Respect to Elders
Adults have been on this Earth since a longer time, and kids should be taught that experience leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to respect. They should be taught to show respect to their parents, grandparents, teachers, and any other adults they encounter. One way of doing this can be by always serving food to the elders, before the kids, or giving up a seat on public transport to an older adult, while your kid is watching. They will know that showing deference to age indicates good manners.
10. Learning and Remembering People’s Names
Using and remembering someone’s name shows that you have made an effort to recognise and remember them. Teach your kid to remember a friend’s name or family member’s name by using it often with him or her.
11. Not Pointing or Staring at People
To teach your kids that pointing and staring at someone is rude, tell them that if they point at someone, three fingers will always point back at them. You can use that as a base to teach them to be aware of other people’s emotional space. Asking them how it would feel if they were pointed at or stared at is also a step to getting them thinking.
12. Being Kind to People with Disabilities
Children are naturally curious about everything, so if they see a person with some disability, they would point and stare, ask questions loudly, or even be scared. They should be taught that such people with disabilities are just like everyone else and should be treated with the same consideration.
13. Being a Good Guest
Teach your kids to be considerate and polite when visiting their friend’s homes. They should know how to be adaptable to the other family’s schedules, not be stubborn or fussy with the food served and to express their preferences without being vague. Kids should also be taught to greet hosts well, when visiting their homes.
14. Having a Conversation the Right Way
Children should learn that yelling, shouting and screaming are not the right methods to communicate. No matter how angry or irritated they are, they should be taught to speak softly and put their point across. You can help your child to learn this by doing the same in front of them. Also, teach them to wait until the other person is done talking, before taking their turn. This will also make your kids listen to you.
15. Being Compassionate and Helpful
Learning to show compassion and being helpful should become a habit to children. It will make them feel really good about themselves and also help them be well-liked by others. You can teach them things like holding the door open for people who have their hands full or helping parents and teachers with chores.
16. Learning to Share
This habit becomes very important for kids when they play with others. They should be taught that sharing is caring and to share their toys or food. You can start teaching this quality by incorporating the act of sharing when you play with them and point out that doing so adds to the fun.
17. Cleaning Up After Themselves
Kids can be messy eaters or not put away their clothes or toys properly after using them. To inculcate the habit of cleaning up in them, you can teach them to rinse their dishes in the sink after eating or ask them to help with household chores. They will automatically learn to clean up, as time goes by.
18. Be Honest
Start teaching kids to be honest and not tell any lies, from a young age. These are core values that need to be inculcated in your children. Make sure that they stick to what they’ve said. If they make empty promises, sit them down and explain why it is important to tell the truth. Be firm and tell them that honesty is the best policy. Moral development is significant, from early on.
19. Establishing Eye Contact with Others
Maintaining eye contact while having a conversation indicates social confidence and respect for people. Teach this to your kids by spending quality time with them and practising eye contact while speaking. If they learn this ability, they will grow up to have good social relationships with people.
20. Never Using Foul Language
Foul language is highly disrespectful and unpleasant. Kids should be taught never to use foul language in front of anyone, even if they have heard it on TV or outside somewhere. It is an essential habit to learn. Sit them down and explain why it is not okay to use such language.
How to Teach Your Child Good Manners
As a parent, you also have a huge responsibility to understand the importance of good manners in children and make sure your child grows up with them. You can use the following pointers to set your child on the right path to learning good manners.
- The first step is to have all those good manners yourself. Children look up to parents as role models. If you want your child to have good manners, make sure to practice what you preach in front of them. Even in moments of frustration, don’t let your manners slip in front of your children.
- Manners like being polite, knocking on doors, cleaning up after one’s self, dining table etiquette, and so on, can be practised at home with your kids repeatedly, until it gets fixed in their minds and behaviour.
- When your child does something right or displays a good habit, make sure to encourage him/ her with words of positive enforcement. Children love praise, and encouraging them each time they are good will help them want to be better. Ignoring your child’s good manners may have a reverse effect, as they may resort to misbehaviour to get your attention.
- Correct your child on the spot when he/ she does something wrong. Even if it is in the middle of a conversation with someone else, and your child interrupts, take a moment to stop and gently correct him/ her. However, if your child is very sensitive, you can talk in private later.
- Children will frustrate you many times with their short attention span and active mind, but be patient. It is important to never lose your temper and get angry at your child. If you are calm and firm, your child will respond in the same way as well.
- If you are teaching your kids to be respectful to people of other religions, groups, gender and nationalities, make sure not to carry the same biases yourself. Teach your kids to judge a person solely by their character and not by anything else.
- Use polite words around your child. The words, ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’, and ‘may I’ are the first few words that should be taught to a child when teaching him or her good manners. Repeatedly use them with your child and encourage them to use these words with you as well. Make it a rule at home, and your child will naturally imbibe these good manners.
Good manners are basic elements that will instil a sense of etiquette in your children and make them better human beings when they grow up. They will find it easy to get along with people, succeed at work or school, and develop good relationships with others around them. A polite, considerate child will make the best impression on the world. So, start teaching your kids these manners when they are young, itself!
Also Read: 10 Basic Life Skills for Children