Manners for Minors. Are We Good At Teaching R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

By: Dr. Maureen O'Brien, Parenting Coach

Children aren't born with manners, so it's important for parents to teach them the skills they need to be polite. Saying please and thank you is a start, but there's so much more to learn. A well-mannered child is one who thinks about others' needs, can express herself/himself clearly, and shows respect for other people. Luckily, every day provides lots of opportunities to teach your child good manners.

You can start by working on these simple behaviors:


Body Language: A child who looks you in the eye when you are talking to them comes across as more polite. Practice with your child and say, "Doesn't it feel like I'm paying more attention when I look at you instead of looking down at the floor?"


Tone of Voice: Nothing turns people off more than a whiny child. Ask your child for a favor in a pleasant voice and then in a whiny voice. Say, "Which one makes you more likely to help me?"


Word Choice: Children will instinctively speak in short phrases like, "I want" and "Give me". It's up to parents to give them better ways to communicate, like, "May I have?" and "Excuse me."


Gestures: A personal touch is another surefire way to show manners. Handmade cards and drawings are always appreciated. Your child learns that spending time on something is a way to show gratitude. If your child isn't shy, he or she can make a phone call instead.

The best way you can instill manners? Click here.

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