How to Teach Your Child Manners

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It's never too early - or too late - to teach your child about proper etiquette.

Things You'll Need

  • Etiquette Books


  1. Set a good example. It's unfair to expect politeness of a child if his parents are not polite themselves.

  2. Teach your child manners in stages, as his comprehension and skills develop. It probably won't do any good to ask a 2-year-old to stop chewing with his mouth open; he probably lacks the understanding and physical coordination to comply. But by 4 or 5 years of age, your child should have the ability to grasp the reasoning behind such a rule.

  3. Start using words and phrases like 'please,' 'thank you,' 'excuse me,' 'I'm sorry,' and 'may I?' as early as possible around your child. Encourage your child to do the same.

  4. Take care what language you use around children; they mimic the way adults speak.

  5. Ask your child to address adults with a certain degree of formality - that is, Ms. Lee, Mrs. Doe, Mr. Smith - unless the adult tells them to do otherwise.

  6. Review the other basics of etiquette with your child whenever necessary. He should learn how to shake hands, show respect for older people, behave quietly in public places, and avoid interrupting other people in conversation. He should also learn not to play with other people's belongings unless given permission to do so.

  7. Avoid ignoring bad behavior or waiting to talk about it. Address a rule as soon as your child breaks it.

  8. Bring up the behavior again in private so you can discuss it more thoroughly and make sure your child understands how to behave in the future.

  9. Praise your child for good behavior.

Tips & Warnings

  • When teaching or correcting manners, try never to embarrass your child in public.


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