Expert Advice

How to teach your kids good manners

Start them young and you're much more likely to have success.

Good manners show courtesy, thoughtfulness and empathy towards others, and are something your child will use for life.

Here’s how to encourage your child to be well mannered

1. Make a list

What manners are important in your family? Make a list that includes saying please and thank you, sharing, being respectful and kind. Pop the list on the fridge or somewhere you can read it out as a way of reminding your kids.

2. Start young

Children as young as two can begin learning how to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, “may I…” and “no, thank you”. While they might not understand the principle meaning of these words, as they become older they will know these words make other people feel good and appreciated for helping you.

3. Talk about manners

Before you go to the shops, to school, to a friend’s house, have a chat about good behaviour and remind your child about the manners you expect them to demonstrate.

4. Encourage them

Gently prompt your kids when they forget their manners and praise them when they use them. You could consider introducing a rewards chart for when they remember their manners.

5. Practice what you preach

Your own behaviour counts so be sure to use your manners – always say “please” and “thank you” and treat everyone with kindness and respect.

6. Be hygienic

Teach your kids basic hygiene skills. From washing their hands after they use the toilet and before they eat to covering their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Another no-no is picking their nose.

7. Table etiquette

Mealtime manners are important so be sure to teach your kids to chew with their mouths closed, how to hold their cutlery properly and to use a napkin instead of their sleeve when wiping their mouth.

8. Read a book together on manners

There are so many great books for kids which help show the difference between manners and rudeness.

These books will help your kids get on board with minding their manners

May I Please Have a Cookie? by Jennifer E. Morris

Dude, That’s Rude! (Get Some Manners) by Pamela Espeland & Elizabeth Verdick

Excuse Me! by Dave Hughes and Holly Lee

365 Manners Kids Should Know by Sheryl Eberly

Ready to Go! Manners by Alison Brown

Mind Your Manners by Nicola Edwards.

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