Tips For Teaching Your Child Manners
By Lily Morgan
You’ve seen them in the grocery store: children who have no manners! They grab everything they want from the shelves, push and shove while waiting in line, and talk back to their parents. If you are a parent, you are probably wondering what to do to keep your child from turning into a terror. While no child is perfect, there are some things you can do to teach a child the proper way to behave in public.
The most important thing you need to do to teach your child to behave is to be consistent. If you allow the child to behave one way at home but require a different behavior in public, she is going to be confused. Confused children do not learn quickly what is required of them and have a higher tendency to act out.
Another way to teach your child how to behave is to model proper manners at home. If you are going to ignore social graces in front of your children, they will think this is the proper way to behave.
However, it’s not necessarily a problem if children learn they can relax their manners slightly when at home. Everyone needs a place where they don’t have to be on their best behavior, and that place should be your home. After your child has learned what proper behavior is, you can explain to her that sometimes it is fine to behave a little crazy but proper manners should always be used in public.
Teaching proper manners begins even before your child can talk. For example, you can use “please” and “thank you” with your infant or toddler before she can say these words herself. This will be a good way to get your child used to saying these words when it is appropriate. She will want to repeat the words when she starts talking because mommy and daddy use them.
One social convention all children should learn is how to use the proper title when addressing adults. Some adults expect children to use “Mr.” or “Mrs.” and “Sir” or “Ma’am” when addressing them. If you teach your children to address adults this way, even if it is not something you normally require children to call you, they will not offend those around them. Of course, if an adult your child knows says these titles are unnecessary, then you do not have to insist that your child uses them with that individual.
Children should be taught how to listen without interrupting, and this is a difficult behavior for a child to learn. You need to remind her not to interrupt, but don't make a huge issue out of it if she forgets. A child is naturally excited about the things he or she wants to say, so a child will slip up. When this happens, a gentle reminder is all she needs.
Remember that children need time to develop the necessary motor skills to eat without spilling and chew with their mouths closed. Do not require behavior your child is not physically capable of. Give them time to grow, teach them when certain behavior is appropriate, and you will raise a child who uses good manners - at least most of the time.
About the Author: Find helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop our great selection of kids furniture (including our popular wooden toy boxes) and classic toys. Visit