Lead by example if you want your kids to be well-mannered

2 Dec 2018

Well-mannered children to do not come about by chance – to raise a well-behaved and polite child you have to lead by example.

Is having manners simply the act of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the appropriate moments? No, good manners also encompass blowing your nose into a tissue, saying ‘excuse me’ when you break wind, being polite to all people and having the correct table manners, among other things.

As a parent, you can hope that your children develop these traits, but the only way to make sure that they will is by showing them when and how these acts are used appropriately. This is a process that won’t take place instantaneously but will be learned by over time through the observation of the manners displayed around them.

Paying attention and not interrupting speakers, respecting the youngest and oldest people you encounter, making eye contact and speaking respectfully, and treating possessions with care, will instil the same values in a young child.

You can also boost the development of good manners by:

  • Reinforcing good behaviour (politeness, kindness, etc.) with an acknowledgement or by passing a compliment
  • Practising good behaviours through role play or encouraging good responses in real life situations
  • Remind children of the good behaviours associated with good manners, but don’t put pressure on them
  • Finally, set your expectations age-appropriately. They need time to adopt these behaviours and become comfortable with the people they meet.

 Good manners, from thanking others to sharing, will become second nature, but only over an extended period of time, where the child is exposed to these behaviours, reminded of them and acknowledged for their efforts – so don’t forget to be a good role model for your kids.