The Importance of Early Training
Children who are not taught good manners from an early age have a very distinct social disadvantage. When sending your child to early kinder or preschool you will, as a parent, be more confident that, along with their healthy lunch, they will also be taking with them their learnt social etiquette and politeness.
Good manners and good behaviour can be taught as young as two years, even though they may not fully understand, but it helps them to be more appreciative and aware of others and that their feelings are as important as their own.
Good manners develop into good habits that are an integral part of good behaviour.
Teaching Good Manners to young children is based on valuing others’ feelings and sensitivities while it demonstrates thoughtfulness and respect towards them. These children grow into good, well-mannered teenagers and adults.
Politeness is an expected social etiquette that should be taught at a very early age. However, it is never too late to learn good manners and politeness. By teaching children manners early in life, politeness becomes a natural part of their everyday behaviour and speech.
Introduce polite words such as PLEASE and THANK YOU from an early age. This helps to develop an attitude of gratitude. Even though children don’t understand these terms at first, they are practising using them. Introduce other phrases later, such as “May I?”, “No, thank you” and “Excuse Me” to further develop good child behaviour.
INSTILLING GOOD MANNERS
GOOD MANNERS are an integral part of a child’s social behaviour development. Learning good manners is essential to a child’s overall development and ensures that you will be raising happy children.
Good manners demonstrate respect for another individual. They help a child realise that other people’s thoughts and opinions should be listened to and their self-worth respected. Demonstrating politeness, thoughtfulness and respect develops a true sensitivity towards those with whom they come in contact, and others will respect them in return.
TEACHING TABLE MANNERS
Basic table manners are essential along with social etiquette and good manners in today’s society and need to be taught and practised from a very early age, to become natural when socialising out with friends and family.
Children need to be taught not only good manners but table manners as well. They should be taught how to hold their spoon and fork and when chewing food, to keep their mouth closed until finished. Having good manners and good table etiquette is not talking while eating but waiting until their mouth is empty. It’s also bad manners to put more food into their mouth when they haven’t chewed all of the previous mouth full. Good manners is not talking whilst eating but to wait until they have finished chewing.
Children need frequent reminders and practice at table manners.
Parents raising children need to put time and effort into teaching politeness. Polite children with good manners are a pleasure to take out to a dinner or restaurant. When children are well mannered with good social etiquette, along with table manners, taking children to social events and activities can be much more enjoyable.
They should make a point of teaching them table etiquette and manners so that they feel confident that their children will display good table manners and proper table etiquette when dining out… and it becomes more of an enjoyable outing for everyone.
12 EFFECTIVE WAYS OF DEVELOPING GOOD MANNERS IN CHILDREN
1 Setting an example
We, so often as a society, judge people by their social behaviour and this influences people’s perceptions towards them. Polite children with good manners exemplify good upbringing where consideration for other people and their feelings is paramount.
Parents need to lead by example when teaching good table manners. Teaching children every day, through parents mirroring good manners themselves, demonstrates respect and sensitivity for each others’ feelings. A respectful child will develop naturally into a well-mannered individual.
Mirroring good manners with your children and their friends develops politeness and good behaviour.
2 Correcting your child in public
When you are out in public places with your children, it’s always good to acknowledge other friends’ children and have conversations with them. This helps them to feel included. It demonstrates politeness to your children and that they too should show politeness towards them also, and can reduce any issues of craving attention or acting up.
When they are playing with other children they will then know its important to always be polite and show they have good manners.
Correcting a child appropriately when out
Correcting your child in public in front of others should always done sensitively and having careful regard for your child’s feelings. However, it is best to do so out of earshot of others, if possible. Never make an example of your child, but give careful consideration to the situation, your child’s feelings and to not drawing attention to the situation.
Move your child to a more private area if possible and fully explain quietly your corrections. Always speak to your child at their level, maintain eye contact, using words that they can understand. Always ask for their acknowledgement that they understand that good behaviour is expected. Speaking firmly but quietly often dispels any behavioural issues in children when in public.
3 Good communication
The conversation should only take a minute or two. Always remember it’s the child’s bad behaviour that you are addressing and that needs to change… not them. Make a point of telling them that you love them very much and that good behaviour is expected.
4 Guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways
Communicating to your children in this way acknowledges that they are respected, valued and loved. Children will have a better understanding of how you expect them to behave more sensibly, and that they should endeavour to take on board and know what is expected of them in the future. This is guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways.
Politeness and demonstrating good behaviour is a skill that children need to learn from an early age.
Children need to learn to take responsibility for inappropriate bad manners. When children understand what’s expected of them, they develop their own sense of responsibility for themselves as they recognise and understand bad behaviour in themselves. Bad behaviour often comes from their frustrations, but they fail to ask for assistance.
Parents and guardians need to demonstrate and teach by example. Avoid raising your voice as this creates tension. Children need to know that their frustrations can be overcome by expressing problems to an adult if they are finding it difficult to e.g. play a board game… and that asking for help overcomes bad behaviour very quickly. When children learn to express their feelings and frustrations through asking for help, they take a giant leap towards becoming a person, not only with good manners, but that other people will want to be around.
Children will recognise how exhibiting good manners and good behaviour solves frustrations very quickly.
5 Deal with Interruptions
If your child interrupts you while having a conversation, quietly point out to them that it is bad manners to interrupt but you will attend to their needs when it’s appropriate. This helps them feel noticed and recognised, but they will learn that that interrupting is not ok. It teaches them that politeness is not only having good manners, but is also being patient and waiting.
It very important that parents make sure that they follow through on their promise and don’t take too long in attending to the child as soon as they are finished. This shows respect for the child… that they too are important.
6 Setting the Example
Developing good manners in children takes time, effort, consistency and showing by example. Practise good manners at home, always teach by example. Children will follow your consistent lead. Children need to know that good behaviour and good manners start at home and they are taken with them when they go out. If the rules are consistently applied, children learn very quickly and behavioural problems in children subside.
7 Gentle Reminders
Manners are not automatically learnt. Children need constant encouragement and direction when learning how to display manners. Children need gentle reminders and explanations as to when and where to use these newly learnt manners and politeness.
Acquiring these newly learnt good manners takes lots of encouragement, reinforcement and practice as well as discouraging any bad manners or inappropriate table etiquette that may arise. Consistent follow through by both parents or caregivers ensures no confusion for children.
Learning good manners takes time and plenty of patience and reinforcement as politeness is a learnt skill and adds to their lifelong education.
8 BE A ROLE MODEL AND COACH
Good manners start at home by parents modelling good behaviour. Apart from setting a good example to your children, realise that you are a role model for them and you can also be their coach.
Remember that they are watching and learning from you every day. They will inevitably emulate your good behaviour, both at home, on the road and in public. Politeness and good manners need to be demonstrated in all circumstances and will stand them in good stead for the future because having good manners is an asset.
Children respond to positive encouragement, therefore look for different ways to encourage and build them up for their good efforts. Parents can often too quickly criticise their children for unacceptable bad behaviour, but are slow to react to good behaviour when it is warranted. Practise encouraging children for their good manners and politeness because it reinforces good child behaviour and this builds their self-esteem.
10 REWARD WITH PRAISE
Reward children for their good behaviour. Praising children helps them to feel proud about themselves and valued. Their personal feelings are given a huge boost. Praise always creates a positive attitude. Children will respond more easily when genuine encouragement and praise is given freely. Praise builds confidence and self-esteem.
At every opportunity, praise them for their good manners and good behaviour.
11 TEACH BASIC GOOD MANNERS PHRASES
6 BASIC MANNERS THAT ALL CHILDREN SHOULD KNOW
All of these words demonstrate respect for another.
“NO, THANK YOU”.
These words and phrases don’t come naturally, and children must be trained to see things from the perspective of the other person.
12 SOCIAL MANNERS
Well-mannered children also need to demonstrate Social Manners
Social Manners children need to learn…
+ SHARING WITH OTHERS.
Teaching the importance of sharing is guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways. When children are sharing their toys and activities with others, this demonstrates kindness and thoughtfulness toward other children or adults. It displays respect, good manners and politeness.
Sharing with others is often one of the hardest things for children to deal with, especially if another child has damaged or is likely to damage their things. However, sharing displays politeness, respect and good behaviour.
+ APOLOGISING or saying “SORRY”
Supporting and managing children’s behaviour can be difficult at times. It may be difficult for children to recognise that their actions or words maybe disrespectful, rude. However guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways is understanding that being sorry is important. Children need to accept and recognise that their bad manners, lack of politeness or table etiquette will not be tolerated.
+ WAITING IN TURN
It’s a principle that even adults forget. Children learning politeness and good manners means learning to wait in line or wait for their turn when playing a game. It means not interrupting when others are talking or when you’re on the phone. It’s important for parents to help their children to grasp these very important concepts and parents need to always lead by example. Politeness and good manners are not difficult, it just needs to be taught from an early age.
Behavioural issues in children and bad behaviour can be dealt with fairly quickly if parents, guardians or teachers recognise the signs of frustration, anger or naughtiness when it first appears. With gentle sensitivity, immediate explanation and understanding of their inner frustrations, bad behaviour can quickly revert to good behaviour and politeness in a few days or overnight.
It’s never too late to teach and encourage children to always to have good manners and demonstrate politeness.
REWARD CHARTS CAN BE A GOOD IDEA FOR REMINDERS EACH DAY