The importance of good manners for kids is demonstrated by the old adage: manners maketh man. Your child’s manners may determine how well others think of your child. Good manners also determine social competence.
Not only that, your child’s manners (or lack thereof) will reflect upon you and your upbringing! Good manners will create a better impression of your child on others and also makes the child feel more confident and social adept. Manners can make people perceive a child as well behaved or spoiled. So clearly, good manners for kids are an important part of growing up.
Don’t think your child is too young to be taught good manners – he or she can learn when “Please, Thank you and Sorry” are appropriate to say right from the time they learn to speak. It may take a lot of patience and it will need you as a parent to be consistent, but it is possible to start your child off early on good manners. This will stand your child in good stead later in life as well – good manners taught early can become ingrained; almost like second nature.
Show them how it’s done
If good manners for kids are important, they are as important for adults. Adults are also judged by how good their manners are. There is no better way of teaching a child about good manners than by example.
When you as a parent are consistently polite, courteous and pleasant with others (including your child), this sets a great example for your child to emulate. And remember you need to be polite and well mannered with your child as well if you want to inculcate good manners for kids.
Your child will not learn manners overnight; in fact at time it may seem as though all of your gentle teaching and prodding seem to have no effect. But patience and consistence are important here. You cannot say “it’s no use – my child will never learn” and resign yourself to bad or surly behavior from your child. You need to persist and expect good behavior.
Some good manners for kids should be non-negotiable
There are some rules of good behavior that should be non-negotiable. Some behaviors are unacceptable and your child should understand that. For instance, explain to your toddler that screaming in public is not acceptable at any time. Biting is beyond the pale. Hitting other people young or adult is also unacceptable.
Politeness, waiting your turn, courtesy to others and expressions of gratitude are a must so explain this to your child – accept no less.
Similarly tweens can be made to understand that rudeness and disrespect will not be tolerated. Ignoring people, not greeting them, failing to say please and thank you and not apologizing for transgressions are not to be tolerated.
Good manners for kids can be taught by making a child understand that rights and duties are mutually complementary. You can explain to your child that if you expect others to be polite and well mannered they have to consistently demonstrate that sort of behavior as well.