Manners are an important skill set for your child to learn for many different reasons. Primary among them is their own developing self-respect and their respect for others. These are some of the first skills that require your child to step outside themselves and empathize with other people. Learning them will help your child learn to communicate respectfully and successfully with other children and adults. This will also smooth your child's path in social situations.
Experts suggest that children who are not taught appropriate manners lack the skills they need to succeed around other people and become socially awkward or withdrawn. Teaching manners doesn't have to be hard and it can save your child from rude and inconsiderate public behaviors. Consult our list of fifteen steps for a little help when you are ready to begin teaching your child manners.
The 15 Steps:
Begin with yourself. You are your child's first and best role model. If you do not behave the way that you teach your child to behave then the lessons simply won't stick.
Start the conversation early. Children are receptive to this kind of training as early as the age of two. The earlier that you start working with them then the sooner you will begin to see results.
Be consistent. In order to succeed on teaching your child about manners you must enforce the same set of ideals at all times and in all places.
Be persistent. Don't worry if it takes time for these lessons to ink in. Your child may need lots of reminders, but eventually the message will stick.
Never punish or scold young children for a lack of manners. Young children often make manners mistakes out of ignorance rather than willful defiance. Encouraging them to behave correctly will have a much better effect than any negative reinforcement.
Use positive rather than negative language. Positive language such as "I want you to say please," is more effective than negative language like "I hate it when you yell."
Deal with lapses immediately. When your child forgets their manners, you need to find a private way to remind them. They need to know immediately what they have done wrong.
Discuss lapses again at home. If a lapse occurs outside the house you may need to revisit it at home so that you can properly discuss it.
Praise good manners. When your child succeeds, tell them.
Remind your child about the importance of manners. Take the time to discuss how respectful manners make people, including your child, feel. This will help them to connect the behavior with its effects.
Have fun with manners. Play games and sing songs, anything that makes learning manners fun and positive for you and your child.
Discuss situations where other children or adults fail to use good manners. Use these as teachable moments for your child.
Prepare for big occasions ahead of time. It never hurts to study up on manners before a public dinner or sleep over.
Expect mistakes. Children, especially when they are learning, will make mistakes. This is simply a part of the process.
Review, Review, Review. The more time you spend reviewing the manners your child should have, the longer they will stay with your child.