People always compliment us on how polite Julianna always is. She says “thank you”, “please”, “excuse me”, “bless you”, “you’re welcome”, and “sorry” whenever she needs to.
How do we do it? Very simple.
Joey and I have always been big on manners. I was raised and taught to be well-mannered from a very early age. I was always reminded to behave and to be polite to people. My mom went to etiquette school when she was younger, so she made sure to pass along her lessons when she had her own children. Etiquette guru Emily Post says: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” The important part of being polite is being aware. Once a child is around the age of 18 months old, they begin to understand that other people have feelings just like they do. Therefore, that age is a perfect time to begin to teach them that their actions and their behavior can affect others.
It’s all about following these simple rules.
- Good manners are a good habit: Behaving politely is a way of life, not something you can expect from your child at a fancy restaurant or a wedding. If you start teaching your child at an early age, they’ll begin acting this way automatically whether they’re at home or not.
- Polite behavior will help your child’s social development: Kids who aren’t taught social graces from an early age are at a distinct disadvantage. Kids who aren’t polite and well-mannered are a huge turn off for adults and kids that know and understand social graces.
- Learning manners is a lifelong education: Learning manners is not going to happen overnight. You need to be patient and take it slowly. Reminding your toddler to say “thank you” or “please” as much as possible will help them understand that it should be said all the time.
- Your behavior counts: Setting an example is extremely important too. Kids copy pretty much everything that we do. Communicating with your partner in a polite manner will help your child understand that adults do it too. Especially their role models. Also, keep in mind that they copy the good things but they might also imitate the bad things so be aware of how you are at home so they can behave properly when they’re out. My husband and I are always very respectful towards each other, so we take pride when it comes to teaching our children the right things.
- Consistency is important: I can’t stress enough how consistency is key in pretty much everything we do. Acquiring or teaching good manners takes a lot of practice. As we all know, practice makes perfect.
Table Manner: By age 3, your child should be able to eat with a fork and spoon, stay seated at the table for 15-20 minutes and wipe his mouth with a napkin.
Please and Thank You: An 18-month old might be able to say the words, but not truly understand the meaning. By 2.5 years old, kids can link the word to the concept.
Sharing: At around 2 years old, a child begins to understand the concept of sharing and taking turns.
Apologizing: An 18-month old has a basic understanding of empathy; however, he might not necessarily understand why he’s expected to apologize. By 2.5-3 years old, they should be able to understand the concept.
Keep in mind that children behave well when they’re well-rested, fed, and comfortable. Plan play dates around their nap times and meals. Also, don’t forget to prompt him/her if they forget to be mannerly.
This is how we’ve proudly taught our daughter to be polite in every situation. There’s no better feeling than being complimented on how polite and respectful your child is. It makes you feel like you’re rocking at this parenthood gig.