More than once I’ve been told that I have very polite kids. They have good manners for kids their age – or any age I guess. They’re full of pleases and thank you very muches and may I please haves. While I feel honored and proud of them, I’m sometimes also a little surprised. I have to make sure we’re talking about the right kids. You mean the two little blonde mischievous monkeys? Yep, just checking.
What are some Good Manners for Kids to know
Having good manners for kids isn’t just about saying yes please, no ma’am, thank you kindly. It’s also treating others with respect, having good communication skills, thinking of others and being patient. I know that every family is different. We all have different rules and expectations of our children. While I don’t profess to be an expert, here are just a few things that I do to teach good manners to my kids.
Walk the Walk. You want them to say please and thank you and be respectful? Then you say please and thank you and treat them with respect. You don’t want them eating in the living room? Then you don’t eat in the living room. Did you burp? Say excuse me since that’s what you want them to do. And one that I really struggle with: if you don’t want them yelling at each other, don’t yell at them! It’s a tough one for me. I’m still working on it.
Gently correct. I can’t tell you how many times I have to prompt them to say please or thank you. They don’t get in trouble if they forget. They just don’t get what they’re asking for. Or if I give them something and hear silence, I say, “Say, ‘thanks mom.’” And they immediately say, “Thanks mom,” in that tone of voice that says, “Oh yeah. I knew that.” When I offer them something, it goes a little like this: “Do you want peaches? Yes please or no thank you?” And they respond appropriately. Practice, practice, practice. They’ll get it. But try not to scold them. They’re still learning. But boy howdy to I feel good when they say, “Thanks for dinner mom!” without being told to do so.
Don’t let them have everything they want. I only have two children, so it’s sometimes very easy to say, sure, you have this and you have that and now everyone has their own. But what do they learn from that? They learn they “deserve” everything they want. It’s hard on you, as the parent, to deal with the fallout of not getting everything they want, but they’ll be well rounded adults if they can learn to handle the little disappointments early on in life.
Let them experience other cultures through books, travel and educational videos or websites. This helps them become aware of the fact the world is a big place, and everyone deserves to be treated kindly. Am I saying take your kids to France and Uganda? Um, no. The furthest we’ve been from home is this summer we took a road trip from rural Idaho to Disneyland. But, it was good for all of us to learn to be tolerant and accepting of people of every age, race, color, whatever.
Make them work. Seriously. Make them work.
It’s all in your attitude. My kids are still learning how important their role in our family is and we have to constantly remind them that without their help, we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things we need to or want to. Let them cook. Let them sweep. Have them put away their own laundry. That one is my son’s personal brand of torture. And don’t follow behind them “fixing” it. Just let it go. (Funny story. My son told me he didn’t need to put away the laundry because he helped fold it, so he was done helping. I said, “Oh. Ok. Well, I made you breakfast, so I don’t need to make you lunch or dinner today because I already helped.” I’ve never seen him run so fast to put away his undies.)
Play with them. They need to see a good example of what it feels like to play with someone and have fun without being mean or having fun at the expense of someone else. They need time and attention and positive interaction.
What did I miss? What are other good manners for kids to know?