September is National Children’s Good Manners Month. As with many skills taught during childhood years, manners can be instilled early too. Manners include both simple forms of etiquette and courtesy, but also teach responsibility, respectfulness, kindness and more.
Where do you begin? Children learn from their closest role models — their parents, guardians and other family members. You can teach them by your actions, then talk through why you did such and give them ongoing opportunities to practice themselves!
- Holding the door open for others shows your helpfulness.
- Instilling table manners, like chewing with your mouth closed, using napkins and keeping elbows off the table, displays respect and responsibility.
- Apologizing to others for your misdoings shows kindness for people’s feelings.
- Saying hello and smiling at others displays friendliness.
- Removing cell phones and other digital devices during family time teaches respect and care for time with others.
- Saying “please” and “thank you” demonstrates gratitude.
Furthermore, with manners and exhibiting gratitude and respect, research has shown that “grateful kids feel happier, do better in school and have lower rates of depression than their less thankful peers.”
There are wonderful books available for parents to help encourage their children to use proper manners. Here are just a few:
Madeline Says Merci: The Always-Be-Polite Book by John Bemelmans Marciano
- Time to Say “Please”! by Mo Willems
- How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen
- My Dog Never Says Please by Suzanne Williams
- Pretty Please: A Book of Manners with Sticker and Envelope and Other by Kiki Thorpe
- Emily’s Everyday Manners by Peggy Post, Cindy Post Senning
- Clifford’s Manners by Norman Bridwell
Games are even accessible for fun interactions with good manners! Here are some that come to mind:
- Manners Mall by Childswork Childsplay
- Q’s Race to the Top by EQtainment
- Blunders by Patch Products
- Mind Your Manners Cards by Patch Products
It’s never too early to learn good manners. Take this month to practice with your kids!