The Big Idea: Respectful behavior and good manners show other people that you’re thoughtful and kind, and they go a long way in life.
Here are some ways to help teach these skills:
- Set a good example. Kids learn by watching the adults around them. Say “please” and “thank you” often. These small words tell kids (and others!): You are just as important as I am and you deserve the same respect.
- Respect each other’s privacy. Teach children the importance of knocking on doors and of giving space to people when they need it.
- If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Teach children that sometimes the best option is just keeping quiet. It isn’t always necessary to give an opinion.
- Learn to listen. Encourage kids to give their full attention to whoever is speaking. Let them see you making eye contact. Invite kids to ask questions afterward rather than interrupt.
- Have a manners party! Plan a special lunch, snack, or tea party to practice good manners. Offer praise when someone says “please,” uses a napkin, or chews with a closed mouth.
- Pass it on. When children make someone else feel good by using their manners, they will feel good, too.