The holiday season is a magical time when family and friends get together to enjoy each other’s company. And it’s is also a perfect time to help a young child learn and practice good manners. Helping young children develop good manners is important because it gets them noticed in a positive way! It costs nothing, but adds tremendous value to the quality of your child’s life, and to their perceived image outside of your home.
Here are 10 ways to help young children make manners a natural part of their character:
Model good manners yourself, and point out other examples: “That was so nice of that lady to hold the door open for us.”
Encourage your child to say “please” when asking for something.
Practice saying “thank you” when she receives something requested.
Help him say “you’re welcome” when someone thanks him. (Personal pet peeve: When did “no problem” take the place of “you’re welcome”?)
Make good manners a habit. If your child uses good table manners at home, she’ll most likely use them when she’s a guest.
Teach your child that when he seeks adult attention, he should not interrupt. Say “excuse me” (unless, of course, it’s an emergency).
Remind her not to talk with her mouth full.
Ask him not to reach and grab for things. Instead, ask them to be passed.
Give gentle reminders of how to act before going to a friend’s or family member’s home. For example, “Let’s not forget to help clean up the toys before we go home.”
Help them draw or write thank-you notes or emails for all gifts received.
As a parent, teaching your child to think, talk, and act respectfully is one of the most important gifts you can give!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.