It’s every parent’s dream to raise a polite child, who never fails to say “please” and “thank you.” Good manners reflect a loving and considerate personality and are essential to living together peacefully. While manners come easily to some children, there are others who struggle with proper etiquette. Here are seven tips to raising a well-behaved child.
1. Expect Respect
The root of all good manners is respect for another person. And, the root of respect is sensitivity, which, believe it or not, is taught from birth. Sensitivity is one of the most valuable qualities you can instill in your child. A sensitive child will naturally be respectful towards others, and thus become a well-mannered person.
2. Teach Polite Words Early
Even two-year-olds can learn to say “please” and “thank you.” Though they might not understand the meaning of these words, they can at least learn that “please” is sometimes how they can get something they need, and “thank you” is how you end many interactions. Planting these social niceties into your child’s vocabulary helps them understand their usefulness long before they understand their meaning.
3. Model Manners
During the preschool years, children tend to repeat what they hear others say. Ensuring that your child hears a lot of “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and “excuse me” as you interact with people will help solidify these habits in your child. It’s also important to address children with the same politeness you do as an adult.
4. Teach Name-Calling
Make it a point to open each request using a name: “Dave, will you pick up your toys?” Teaching your child to use people’s names demonstrates a sensitivity to that person, and makes the request more of a favor than a demand.
5. Acknowledge the Child
Including your child in adult outings helps teach them value of social skills. When you do include your children in adult outings, be sure to not tune your child out. Your children want your attention, and acknowledging them in front of your friends shows the value you hold in them.
6. Don’t Force Manners
While it is okay to occasionally ask for a “please” or “thank you,” children aren’t pets, so don’t rigidly adhere to asking for the magic words before you grant their request. When you do remind your child of good manners, do so as a requirement of good speech, not as a requirement for getting what they want, and be sure they hear a lot of positive speech from you.
7. Correct Politely
When you do correct your child’s manners, try not to perform like an overreacting little league coach. Instead, keep your voice calm, look the child straight in the eye, and reassure the child. When you make these gestures, they reflect that you are correcting the child because you care. Your politeness will show your children how to learn from their mistakes.
Do you find yourself wondering why some children are so polite? The biggest reason for children’s politeness is that they are brought up in an environment that expects good manners. If you practice proper manners and expect the same from your children, then your children will grow up to be well-behaved adults!