Babies are not born with manners. Manners must be taught by parents and/or caregivers. Teaching manners can start whenever your little one is old enough to understand you which depends on their development. It is wise to start as soon as your young one begins talking and be consistent so by the time they do grasp the concept of good manners there are fewer problems later.
Teaching your child manners is also teaching your child respect. They need to learn respect for others, for themselves, and for their parents (or caregivers) in order to get along in society.
Here are a few good ways to educate your child about proper manners:
Teaching By Example
Children learn from watching you. If you are polite and respectful when interacting with them and others they are more likely to do the same. This also includes modeling polite behavior like excusing yourself if you burp, yawn, sneeze, or cough. This is a great way to teach your child to be courteous.
Teaching By Repetition
Being repetitious with your own manners helps make polite behavior second nature. Every time you ask your child for something or ask them to do something make sure to always say "Please." When they offer you something or do what they have been asked to do say "Thank you" every time. Also, if they ask for something without adding "Please" calmly remind them to say it. The same goes for other polite phrases. You should be consistent about using polite words and respectful behavior.
Teaching With Praise
Children react well to positive praise because they tend to seek parental approval. Whenever your child uses good manners and acts in a courteous manner praise their actions. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
Teaching With Rewards
Praise is good, but rewards are better. Consider making a chart where stickers with positive phrases like "Good job" or "All star" can be placed whenever your child uses good manners. As a child grows older you can also reward them with extra or extended privileges to reinforce courteous and respectful behavior.
These are the best ways to make manners, courteousness, and respectfulness part of your child's regular routine. Here are some words and phrases to use on a daily basis when interacting with your child and others:
- "Excuse me"
- "Pardon me"
- "Thank you"
- "I'm sorry"
- "You're welcome"
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