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You’ve probably seen it happen from time to time. You’ll be in the grocery store, a child will be yelling and running into people, and all the while some harried mother is trying to get the child under control. You know why good manners in children are important, but are manners more than saying “please” and “thank you?”

Good manners demonstrate that the child understands respect. When a child says “please” and “thank you” they are exhibiting manners. But not interrupting two adults while they’re talking is also a sign of respect and good manners. It demonstrates the child knows enough to wait to ask a question and is often a result of parents properly training their child.

What are some other ways a child can show basic manner skills?

* They can say greet people when they meet them.
* They can look people in the eyes when being spoken to.
* They can let guests go first, whether on the playground or waiting in line for dinner.
* They can avoid being late. This shows the other person you respect them and value their time.
* They can share what they have with others.
* They can help people if they are able.

Children who use their manners are also more likeable than those who are rude. This may not be a motivating factor when the children are very young, but as they get older it may be. Children want to be liked as much as any teen or adult; as they get older they will learn that using good manners will leave a positive impression. Using their manners will also show their peers how to act and may teach their friends to be polite as well.

If you want your child to be polite and use good manners, you may have to ask yourself if you use them yourself. Since children learn by watching others, it’s important for them to hear you use polite conversation and treating others with respect. When they see you “practice what you preach” they will be more likely to follow your lead.

Why don’t children have good manners as much anymore? Part of the problem is that society doesn’t require it as much as in the past. Watch television or movies today and you’ll see children being disrespectful and ill-mannered to their parents, their peers, and people in authority. If children are allowed to watch this type of entertainment, it is not surprising when they act accordingly.

We need to remind our children that how we treat others is most often the way we will be treated in return. If we want to have friends, we have to be friendly. If we want to be treated kindly, we have to treat others kindly. If we want people to take our feelings into consideration, we have to do the same for them. Unfortunately, your child may have to start the trend by doing the things they would like others to do for them, but they can have a great influence on the children and adults around them.

Teaching your children good manners isn’t hard. They can learn by watching us, as adults and parents, use good manners and treat others with respect. When you know why good manners in children are important, it makes taking the time to teach and train them something you look forward to doing, to see them reap the benefits.

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