As parents, one of our most valuable jobs is to raise our children to be well-mannered, respectful individuals. Politeness is an important social skill that not only reflects positively on your child’s character but also helps them navigate various social situations with ease. Teaching good manners early on can set the foundation for your child’s future interactions and relationships. Here are some tips from an independent school in Somerset on how to raise a polite child.
- Lead by Example: Children learn by observing their parents, caregivers and other influential people around them. Therefore, it’s vital that you model polite behaviour in your own actions and interactions. Say “please” and “thank you” in your daily conversations, greet others with a smile, and show respect towards others’ opinions and feelings. When you consistently demonstrate polite behaviour, your child is more likely to adopt similar manners.
- Teach Basic Courtesy: Start teaching basic courtesy to your child from an early age. Teach them to say “please” when making requests and “thank you” when receiving something. Encourage them to greet others with a “hello” or “goodbye” and to use words like “excuse me” when interrupting or seeking attention. Reinforce these polite phrases through regular reminders and praise their efforts when they use them.
- Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear expectations and rules for polite behaviour in your home. For example, you can set rules like “no interrupting during conversations,” “wait your turn to speak,” and “no talking with food in your mouth.” Always enforce these rules and explain why they are essential. Help your child realise that being polite is not only about following rules but also about showing consideration and respect towards others. If they are rude with their requests, remind them that you will not tolerate rudeness in your home and ask them to try again.
- Role-play Social Scenarios: Role-playing social scenarios with your child can be a fun and effective way to teach them polite behaviour. Practice situations like greeting others, introducing themselves, saying “please” and “thank you,” and apologising when they make a mistake. Encourage them to use polite language and gestures in different social contexts, such as at home, school, or in public settings.
- Encourage Empathy and Respect: Politeness goes beyond using polite words and gestures; it also involves empathy and respect towards others. Teach your child to be considerate of others’ feelings and perspectives. Encourage them to listen attentively when others are speaking, to wait their turn, and to avoid interrupting. Teach them to share, take turns, and be mindful of others’ personal space. Instilling empathy and respect in your child will help them develop a kind and considerate demeanour.
- Praise and Reinforce Polite Behaviour: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in teaching good manners. Praise and acknowledge your child’s efforts to be polite. For example, you can say “Great job using your manners!” or “I appreciate how you said ‘please’ when you asked for that.” Reinforce the benefits of polite behaviour, such as building positive relationships and earning respect from others.
In conclusion, raising a polite child requires consistent effort and positive reinforcement. Remember to be patient and consistent in your efforts, as teaching good manners is a continuous process that requires time and practice.