Teaching child manners is a gradual process. It can take many reminders before your child learns to say "Would you please pass the butter?" But if you set a good example, and are patient and try not to get frustrated with your kids, they will eventually learn.
Teaching child manners is also an ongoing process. You may feel you've succeeded in teaching your 5-year-old certain important manners. But when she's 8, she suddenly becomes more surly and rude. You have to continue to emphasize the same messages. Compliment your child when he is polite.
The different stages in teaching child manners :
Ages 3 to 5
This is the prime time for teaching child manners. Child at this age like rules in general, and they also love to master new skills and to please you.
Children learn from manners their parents display. As such, the role a parent play in teaching child manners is of utmost importance.
Treat children with respect and they will learn to respect others. Talk kindly to your children and they learn how to talk kindly to others. It is also helpful to talk to children regarding how to respond in specific situations to better prepare them for when these situations arise.
Share with your children so they understand the importance of sharing with others. Compliment them when you see them sharing with others.
Practice family politeness. Everyone in the family must practice "please" and "thank-you" policy in which, for example, no request is considered unless the person asking says "please." When one of your children forgets, just give him or her a look that says, "I'm waiting." They soon catch on. Use the same approach for saying "thank you."
Children should be encouraged to apologize when they are sorry for something they did. Apologies should be sincere. If they are not comfortable apologizing face to face, they should write an apology note. Good judgment should be used by the parent as to when an apology is appropriate.
Emphasize the right thing to do and compliment your children when they exhibit good manners, rather than criticizing them for using poor manners. Praise is a wonderful teacher. Tell your children how proud you are when you notice them being polite.
Model the manners you want your child to learn. If you talk when your mouth is full of food, the likelihood is your kids will do the same.
Instruct in small doses . Use a step-by-step fashion. For telephone etiquette, for instance, begin instruction with "hellos" and "good-byes," then teach asking the caller to "please wait a minute while I get my dad." Lastly, guide children to take messages. For table manners, work on one or two at a time.
Keep kids healthy. Children tend to behave badly when they're tired or hungry. Kids need sleep and nutritious foods to survive.
Be patient! Don't expect perfection when teaching child manners. As with any skill being taught, there will be mistakes along the way. Learning is a trial and error process. We all learn from our mistakes.
Other related articles on teaching child manners:
The Greatest Parenting Secret in history for the Best Behaved kids in town
Dealing with the Terrible Twos and beyond
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