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Teaching Good Manners For Kids: Why, How And When?

25 September 2018 by Babios
Teaching Good Manners For Kids: Why, How And When?

It's often surprising for adults to hear from a small child phrases like "please", "thank you", "sorry". However, it's not that difficult to teach good manners for kids in their early stages.

Some of the basic principles include:

  • Becoming a role model as a parent
  • Respecting and putting others first
  • Using the magic word regularly, e.g. thank you, sorry, please
  • Encouraging positive behaviour
  • Setting ground rules at home and outside
  • Practicing good manners at all times

Usually (if not all the time) a good mannered child is happier and more successful in various aspects of their lives. After all, once learned, good manners are here to stay and makes everyone’s life more pleasant.

Just think about the type of children you would like to invite to your home? Most likely, a gentle, decent, polite and grateful, in other words; who without hesitation is able to say things like, please, thank you, and sorry.

The benefits of having good manners for kids is endless. Societies that act on high level of good manners don’t only function well at home but they function smoothly outside too.

They experience more positive and reduced conflict. Look at Japan, they have an extensive collection of manners and customs. A highly populated country with the lowest crime rate in the world.

Good manners for kids

Why is education important for good manners for kids?

Sometimes the rudeness of children in social environments can make us laugh. We may assume that these kind of behaviours are normal. If we continue to assume that this is cute, this bad language (or behaviour) may settle into your child's personality. For example, it wouldn't be nice for a child to call her father “donkey-head” in the middle of everyone.

Actually, the basis of many problems lies with the fact that we are not spending as much time as we should with our kids. If you try to teach appropriate behaviour to your child with a positive attitude and patience, you will see encouraging results over time.

For example, when your child takes a biscuit from your hand, say to him, “I think you forgot to say something”. If he looks at you with an empty eye and doesn’t understand what you're saying, tell him that "I'm waiting for you to say thank you."

You can also use this method when you’re playing with him. During the play, a teddy bear takes the toy from your hand, and you say “I do not like this teddy bear, you took my toy from my hand, at least you should have said “please”.

Try this again, possibly another time. Now this time round, the teddy bear politely asks the toy from you. You smile and say “of course teddy bear, it is time for you to play, thank you for saying “thank you”. Give it a try, you’ll notice the effectiveness of this approach.

Good manners for kids


Are you a role model for your child? It’s a proven fact that the most basic way of raising a child is simply by being a good role model for them. “Good manners by example” is probably the best, simplest and most all-encompassing advice.

Nobody is ever perfect. How many of us have always been polite and respectful. There are occasions when we are off the track.

Don’t you ever hear these words at home?

Throw me the remote control!

Behave yourself!

Shh… I’m trying to listen!

Shut up!

When you ask something for your child to do, adding the word ‘please’ in the sentence will not damage your authority. On the contrary, your positive behaviour will show your authority and kindness.

There is a huge difference between asking a child politely and giving them orders. Your child will cheerfully do when something is kindly requested from them. This approach supports good manners for kids, especially between the ages of 4-5.


In terms of politeness, nothing can be as effective as making good manners a daily routine of your life. Time and time again we see a child imitating an adult’s foul language, which is not uncommon. So, who’s to blame?

A child simply does what he sees and hears from grown-ups. Instead of your child adopting these behaviours, practice good manners at home, and minimise the use of foul language. Remember it does require patience and perseverance (don’t give up).

Respond to their questions and answers in a polite and respectful manner.

Good manners for kids


Is it possible for a child to learn dining table rules without observing adults? Eat with your family at least once a day. Learning how to behave around a dining table is an important social skill. Sometimes this can make a difference between been invited for a birthday party and been left out. Many families choose not to invite very badly mannered children to their child’s birthday party.

As a family get together and set some standard rules. For example, no one will get up until their dinner is finished. No one to use mobile phones or gadgets while eating, watching movies, and having a conversation. Everyone must give 100% of attention to the people they are with.

It is also recommended to eat mouth closed and should not speak with a mouth full.

Ensure that everyone agrees to the content of these rules and make a habit of these standards.


Your child should also be aware that they can be accepted in social environments as a result of behaving differently compared to their usual setting. In this case, you can say that families can have different rules and they should behave accordingly, of course without criticising or discrediting other families.

Your child can give you examples from his/her friends and their families, such as “Ali’s mother doesn't ask him to close his mouth while his eating.” Everybody has their own rules at home. The important thing is to get your child to respect others and be able adapt accordingly.

5 ways to encourage positive behaviour and good manners

  • Practice makes it perfect: Say thank you to your wife when she brings you tea. When you enter a store, say "good morning" to staff. Don't forget to say "please" when you ask your child to tidy up.
  • Be a role model: when a child lives in an environment where everyone is respectful and kind it’s virtually impossible for them to be any different. Setting a good example is always best.  
  • Respect and put others first: this is an absolute necessity for good manners for kids. Something simple as holding the doors, giving up your seat to the elderly, offering a help of hand, or offering a piece of your cake. 
  • Stand up when an elder enters the room. Many adults have forgotten this gem. It’s a sign of respect. Grandma, grandad, aunts and uncles and teachers, any visitor to the home. Teach children to stand as a sign of respect.
  • Set ground rules:  Warn your child that a conversation should not be interrupted without saying “sorry”. Let your child know how important it is to use magic words. Teach them to wait until the conversation is complete, unless it is an emergency.

Do you have any other suggestions around teaching good manners for kids? Please tell us in the comments section below, and let’s have a constructive discussion.

You might also want to read our popular blog “9 reasons why you should read a book to your child” https://www.babios.co.uk/blogs/9-reasons-why-you-should-read-a-book-to-your-child





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