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Raising a Child With Good Manners

June 04, 2024
Parenting Tips
Raising a Child With Good Manners

As parents, we worry about so many different aspects of our children’s lives, from screen time and extracurricular activities to grades and friends.

Divorced parents have even more to manage. Those extras include juggling multiple schedules across various homes and keeping track of child-related expenses.

With all a divorced parent has going on, forgetting to set boundaries and instill good manners is easy. Managing manners when your child lives with you for half a year or less is especially challenging.

However, you can help your child be the polite individual you want them to be. Follow our tips below.

Instill the Fundamentals

At a minimum, you want your child to:

  • Say “Please” and “Thank you
  • Speak politely to others
  • Never snatch or steal
  • Be a gracious loser
  • Address others properly
  • Be friendly
  • Have appropriate table manners

These simple skills will help your child effectively interact with others. By teaching them, you can play a pivotal role in shaping their mannerisms.

Be the Example

Your child is watching you. They pick up on and imitate your actions and reactions, which means it isn’t enough to tell your child to be kind to people. You have to model that kindness all day, every day.

Before pointing a finger at your child for poor or inappropriate actions, consider the three fingers pointing back at you. Might you have unknowingly taught them impolite behavior?

Stop and consider your actions. Do you:

  • Say “Please” and “Thank you” to restaurant staff or cashiers?
  • Treat your co-parent and other family members with respect?
  • Avoid involvement in family or neighborhood gossip?
  • Keep your cool behind the wheel?

There’s no room for “Do as I say and not as I do.” You directly influence your children.

Boundaries and Behavior Corrections

Your child needs boundaries. Often, that goes hand in hand with setting and keeping a schedule. There’s a time for eating, sleeping, doing homework, practicing good hygiene, and talking.

Begin with boundaries surrounding daily routines and habits. For example, you might decide it’s important your child gets most of their nutrition while sitting together as a family at the kitchen table. As a result, you’ll say ‘No’ when they ask for snacks at odd times of the day.

Not correcting poor behavior does your child more harm than good. Discipline may not make your child happy at the moment. However, it molds children into happy and generous people who are pleasant to be around.

Encourage Empathy

An empathetic child can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and consider their feelings. They’ll start treating others the way they want to be treated.

Cultivate your child’s empathy with conversations about someone else’s feelings. For example, if a disagreement happens with a friend, ask your child to imagine how that friend might be feeling. Ask if they’ve ever been in their friend’s position.

Beware of Rewards

Avoid rewarding children each time they do something good. Otherwise, your child will expect external rewards instead of feeling the intrinsic rewards of feeling good about themselves.

It’s absolutely okay to treat your child occasionally for good behavior. Kids need encouragement and flourish on adult approval. Rewarding them every now and then creates fun and special memories. Occasional rewards show your appreciation for the good things they do.

Give Them Responsibilities

Give children chores that match their age and abilities. Chores like sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning mirrors or glass, and drying dishes give them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. They feel like part of the team by making contributions to the household. They’ll also feel proud and happy, especially when you tell them they did a great job.

Staging Good Manners

Teach your children good manners starting at their stage of development. Let their physical milestones guide your process of instilling those manners if you’d like.

Consider listing out what you want your children to learn. Share and compare your list with your ex-spouse using your co-parenting app for effortless and effective communication. Teaching your children manners will be much easier and faster once you and your co-parent are on the same page.

The following stages are a guide to help you establish goals for the kinds of manners you’ll teach your kids and at what age:

  • Infant–Teach infants to wait patiently for what they ask for. Say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Please’ to them often. Infants are capable of learning to sign ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ in sign language.
  • Toddler–Reinforce patience for not always getting what they want. Teach them to say please and thank you. Teach them to pick up their toys. Praise their good behavior.
  • Preschool–Introduce how to properly use utensils, address others, hold doors open, and respect others’ personal space and belongings. Discuss empathy and how politeness contributes to their community.
  • School-age–Teach them to actively look and listen when someone speaks to them. Practice thankfulness with them. Discuss how their words and actions affect others. Encourage them to think about how they’d like to be treated.
  • Teenage–Teach them the importance of respectfully communicating in person and online. Discuss how politeness will help them cultivate better relationships and personal and professional successes.

Why Mannerly Matters

Good manners don’t necessarily come naturally to kids. Look inside a preschool classroom, and you’ll see teachers reminding the students not to snatch, how to share, and reminding them to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’

Good manners involve putting selfish ambitions and behaviors aside. Manners relate to being aware of others’ feelings and showing respect.

No doubt, you want to raise a child who is a genuinely kind person because you want others to like them. You play a significant role in guiding your children toward attitudes and actions that develop good characteristics like empathy, respect, kindness, and generosity.

Consider using a family app for divorced parents to communicate with your co-parent about what manners to prioritize with your child. Continue using it for more efficient and courteous talk about child-related issues.

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