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Please teach your kids to mind their manners

Please teach your kids to mind their manners


Does it really make a difference if you solicit a “please” and “thank you” from your child every time you do something for her or give something to her?

If you value politeness and good manners, it certainly does. As simple as those words are, they have the power to help foster respectful, considerate relationships. There’s a lot of practice involved in grooming a polite child. Since we are constantly doing for and giving to our little ones, there is ample opportunity to reinforce the habit.

Set the standard and stick to it. Use your manners and your child will follow your example – eventually. You’ll hear about it from the parents of your child’s friends and from their teachers and coaches. They’ll mention that your child is “so polite” and you’ll say, “thanks for letting me know that”. You will be truly grateful to know that your child is actually using his or her manners unprompted.

Of course it’s not enough to be mannerly. Good character and graciousness go so much deeper. Instilling good manners is a great beginning though. As corny as an “attitude of gratitude” sounds, it’s a mindset that forms a positive outlook.

As a volunteer at countless school functions, I’ve had interactions with hundreds of kids. I expected them to use their manners and if they didn’t, I’d let them in on the secret words that made things happen. Most kids quickly provided the appropriate words when reminded. A few were in obvious need of manners 101, having no clue what I expected to hear after handing them their pancake or their ticket or their book or whatever.

Our social interactions aren’t like Tweets. We’re not limited by character counts. Cashiers have time to say “please” when asking for a payment. A concise “that’s $20” does not cut it. The “ah-ha” response does not suffice in place of “you’re welcome”.

Nothing should replace good manners. Thanks for using them and passing them along.