Teach Your Child Some Manners 

Teaching your child to have good manners is very important.  You want to start with a few basic manners when the child is still young, but old enough to understand what you are saying.  Children learn by example.  They will do what they see their parents doing.  So, if you are demonstrating good manners then your child will follow your lead. 

When teaching your young child manners you don’t want to be a “drill Sargent”.   Instead, make learning manners fun. Turn your teaching into a game.  Focus on one lesson at a time. If your child is motivated by rewards, you might even reward your child with a star or sticker when he has demonstrated good manners. 

By the time your child is three he or she should be eating with a spoon or fork.  The child can be taught to eat with the utensil and to stay seated at the table for 15 minutes to a half hour during the meal.  The child can also be taught to wipe his mouth at the end of the meal with a napkin that was placed in his/her lap. 

Young children can be taught that the food comes to the mouth by way of a fork or spoon and the mouth does not come to the food. 

As the child gets a little older he can grasp more manner concepts.  The child should be taught to say please and thank you.  He/she can be taught to take small bites and chew with the mouth closed.  Foods and beverages should not be slurped. 

Teach your child not to interrupt someone else and if he/she must interrupt then say, “excuse me”. 

If the child encounters a closed door, teach the child to knock and wait to be allowed to enter. 

Teach your child that when he/she sneezes to do so into his/her bent elbow. 

Teach your child to show appreciation when receiving a gift.  When the child is old enough the child should send a thank you note. If the child is too young then the parents should send the thank you note. 

Teach your child that if he/she cannot say something nice then don’t say anything at all.  This also applies to food the child is offered.  You can complement the food if you like it, but do not comment if the food displeases you. 

Teach the child to give a proper handshake when meeting with adults.  Young children typically do not shake hands with each other. 

Teach your child to share.  Even toddlers can be taught to share their toys, supplies, etc.  with others when they have the chance. 

Teach your child that if he/she is playing a game and loses to accept the loss with good grace. 

Being polite helps a child’s social development and builds self-esteem.  Using good manners will become a good habit. 

The manners you teach your child early in life will be the foundation for all the social etiquette he/she will need to carry them throughout their life.  Find enjoyable ways to teach and encourage your child to use good manners.  One way is for you to set a good example for your child to follow.  Your family needs to use good manners at home.  You cannot expect a child to understand how to use good manners in public if he/she does not practice them at home.