Every parent dreams of having a child with perfect manners. A child who will say “please” and “thank you” reflects on you – the parent. I know, just one more thing, right? 🙂 It’s actually easier than you think to raise a child with good manners and requires less effort than you may realize.
From the day my girls were born, I spoke to them about manners all the time. If they sneezed, I said, “bless you!” If they were crawling in a space I needed to be, I would say “excuse me!” Now at 21 months, my second daughter says “please” and “thank you” with minimal provocation.
As I’m sure you’ve skimmed ahead, you realize a few of these manners I believe kids should have mastered by kindergarten are no brainers. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about the others! Consistency is the key for all of these manners.
Manners To Master By Kindergarten
- Please. In order to teach your child to say “please,” you can remind them when they ask for something they should say “please” first. Every time they ask for something, you ask “How do you ask for ….?” It’s also fun to read Mo Willem’s Time to Say”Please” book!
- Thank You. When you hand them something, ask “What do you say?” This is typically the easiest one to teach. At least it was with my girls! Now I can simply raise my eyebrows if she doesn’t say it on her own and she will smile sheepishly and then say it.
- Excuse Me. A little more difficult to teach, but equally important. Sometimes someone is standing in your way or you accidentally bump into another person, so you need to teach them to say “excuse me.” Saying “excuse me” is really important to me because I noticed at an early age, Caroline would always say “sorry!” anytime she inconvenienced another person. Saying sorry is necessary in certain situations, but she was saying it too often. She was apologizing for things she didn’t need to apologize, so I worked hard to make sure she knew when to say “excuse me” instead.
- Introductions. Once Caroline entered preschool, she was getting really good about making new friends. It had moved from two people occupying the same space and playing somewhat independently to two people actually interacting. She would always come back from playing with someone on the playground or at Chick Fil A and proudly announce, “Mom! I made a new friend!” It was absolutely one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. Then I realized she needed to learn to say, “Hi, my name is Caroline, what’s your name?” It was interesting to me the number of people who were shocked I was trying to teach her to introduce herself. I believe knowing how to introduce yourself also instills confidence – so it’s a win-win!
- Respect. When you speak to someone, you look them in the eye. If someone asks you a question (especially an adult), you stop what you’re doing, turn and look them in the eye and answer. This one can be especially difficult to master if your child is mid-tantrum, and believe me I’ve been there too many times, but it’s important to pull them aside, explain it’s okay to be upset about something, but we need to speak respectfully to others. It doesn’t always come off as wonderfully as it coul, but the words were said. A standard had been set.
So, tell me … what manners do you think are most important to teach your child?