What rules of etiquette were you taught as a kid? Most parents, guardians, and teachers repeat the same phrases ad nauseam.
Elbows off the table. Say please. Don’t speak with your mouth full. Don’t interrupt.
And while these little life lessons may seem trivial at times, teaching manners brings huge benefits for kids.
What is etiquette?
Etiquette is a set of rules dictating how you behave around others — in other words, “good manners”.
That means smiling and saying hello when you meet someone. Or asking before you borrow something. It also means looking someone in the eye when they are talking to you. Or covering your mouth when you cough.
By demonstrating good manners you show respect for yourself and the people you come into contact with.
Why is good etiquette for kids important?
When you teach your kids the rules of etiquette, you give them a social toolkit. They have a range of phrases and behaviors at their disposal, ready to use whatever social situation they find themselves in.
Good manners help kids to function in an interpersonal world. They make family life and social interactions more pleasant, and they can also set your child up for a lifetime of success.
5 benefits of good manners — now and in the future
Greeting people correctly. Demonstrating good table manners on special occasions like Thanksgiving and birthdays. Winning a game graciously. When kids are able to show good manners, they experience a range of literally life-changing benefits.
1. Social success
People who treat their friends, family, and acquaintances with respect, empathy, and kindness are better liked than people who do the opposite.
Having good manners helps children to build strong relationships throughout their lives. As children, they’re more likely to be invited to parties and on playdates. And as adults, they can be relied upon as great dinner guests and colleagues.
As the old saying goes, “You get what you give”. Children who listen to their friends rather than shouting over them are likely to receive the same courtesy in return.
Similarly, a child who shares their things, says sorry when they should, and avoids making fun of others is more often on the receiving end of this kind of good behavior.
This can positively impact how a child sees their peers and the world in general, thus making them more likely to take risks and try new things.
Having good manners creates something of a positive feedback loop. When your kid impresses someone with their manners, they get a rewarding reaction — be it a smile, a few words of praise, or an enjoyable conversation. This encourages your child to demonstrate their good manners again and again.
It also promotes feelings of happiness. Experiencing satisfying interactions with people around us makes us happier, healthier, and even helps us to live longer, too.
When kids have good manners, they feel confident going into a variety of different social situations. They know they have the ability to behave in a socially acceptable way.
When they’re feeling confident, kids are better able to express themselves. They’re also more likely to take on new challenges and try their best. This kind of “growth mindset” is essential for future success.
Good manners can help distinguish your child from their peers. Family members, neighbors, and teachers, then (later) prospective partners and employers will be impressed by good manners.
The people your child comes into contact with are more likely to offer your child opportunities when they can rely upon their good etiquette. This will mean small opportunities like representing the school on an open day and big opportunities like being offered a new job.
Each time your child has a door open for them, they build up the confidence and ability that tends to open yet more doors.
How to teach etiquette to your kids
Having good manners is an undeniably good thing. Luckily, teaching manners is easier than you might think. There are a number of different ways to improve your kids’ etiquette.
Model the behavior you want to see
Young children copy the behavior of their parents. Older children will also enthusiastically — and very helpfully! — point out any occasion when you’re not living by the etiquette rules you impose on them.
So treat your child and other family members with the respect, empathy, and kindness you’d like to see your child show to others. That way they have a good example to follow.
It’s never too early to make teaching manners a priority for kids. Before they can even speak, children are soaking up lots of information about how people interact.
Always say please and thank you to your baby or toddler. And encourage them to do the same as soon as they have the verbal ability.
When teaching good manners, consistency is everything. If you enforce manners on some occasions but let them slide at others, your child will end up confused as to what behavior is appropriate.
For older children, you might be able to explain that some behaviors are acceptable amongst close family and better manners are expected with acquaintances. But once these guidelines have been established, it’s important to maintain your expectations.
Remembering social etiquette and demonstrating good manners can be daunting for kids. They’re coming across unfamiliar social situations all the time, so asking them to display confidence and poise is sometimes a big ask.
But when they do behave well with guests or at a parent-teacher conference, pile on the praise. In doing so, you’ll be boosting their self-esteem and encouraging the same good manners in the future.
Offer etiquette tips
The socially appropriate thing to do isn’t always obvious (even for adults!). If your child is going into a new situation, give them some etiquette pointers beforehand. With the right knowledge and a few set phrases, they’ll be much better equipped to make a great impression.
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Link will appear as Teaching Your Kids Etiquette – 5 Benefits of Good Manners Now and In the Future: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 31, 2020