Saying “thank you” or “please,” shaking hands, and other manners are things that parents must teach their kids, just like how our parents taught us such manners. But why are manners important, anyway? And what basic manners should we start teaching our kids?

The Importance of Manners

Good manners show respect, not only for others, but also for yourself.  A simple “thank you” shows your appreciation of another person. A “please” shows that you understand the other person’s right to say no to you, or to make the other person that you are not demanding for anything.

Most of all, good manners show how much a child values his parents and their teachings. Manners indeed show a lot of good things about a person.

How Manners Affect Your Kids’ Future

Teaching your kids good manners will affect their future in a way that they might make or break an opportunity. If they happen to compete with other job applicants who have the same credentials as they have, their good manners might give them an edge over those applicants.

The same thing can happen to them when they decide to pursue a relationship. Good manners can help people warm up your kids better – from classmates and teachers to future love interests.

Good manners can open so many doors in life for your kids.

Basic Manners Kids Must Learn

If you want to help your kids get ahead in life, start with guiding them about maintaining good manners, such as the following:

1. Etiquette

This is the basic of all basic manners for any individual. Let your kids master saying these four important phrases – “thank you,” “please, may…?” “excuse me,” and “no, thank you.”

2. Making introductions

Even as an adult, this might be a bit of a challenge. How much more so for kids? You might want to start by prompting your kids every time you meet someone new. Start out simple by helping them practice with friends saying “This is Molly, and this is Sue.”

If you invite adults to your house, call your child and let them say hello and introduce themselves. Tell them to offer their hand and say “Hello, Mr/Ms ___.” If they invited their friends over, make them do the introductions, too. When it’s time to say goodbye to the guests, let your child say goodbye. Just be patient until making introductions become more natural to your kids.

3. Not interrupting

Show your kids just how rude it is to interrupt someone who’s speaking. Yes, kids are naturally impatient, but you must teach them how not to interrupt anyone’s thought.

4. Answering questions politely

After greeting people, they often follow it up with a “How are you?”

Teach your kids how to answer the question and how to ask that question back to the other person. Help them fight the tendency to close up and ignore the adults. Even with their shyness, make them say at least an “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”

5. Behaving at activities

Be it in a movie, concert, or play, kids ought to follow an order in any public performance.

In a movie, remind your kids to stay quiet, or talk in a whisper.

When you go to a concert, tell your kids to listen, be patient during intermissions, stay in their seat, and watch the entire show quietly.

6. Behaving at the table

One of the most important basic manners kids should learn includes behaving properly at the table. Sharing a dinner meal together will give you plenty of opportunities to do this, so make sure to host family dinners as much as you can. Some of the basics include:

Washing your hands before every meal.

Chewing your food with your mouth closed.

Not interrupting when a family member is talking during sharing at the dinner table.

Saying “please” to pass the food and “thank you” once the food is passed.

Saying “excuse me” after burping at the table.

Washing your hands right after sneezing or coughing into them at the table.

Avoiding scratching or picking of any kind.

Saying “please, may I be excused” after eating, taking their utensils, plate, and napkin to the sink,  and cleaning up

7. Saying thank you

Aside from being able to verbalize their gratitude, another important skill your kids should learn is to write thank-you notes. You can guide them with the notes until they’re about eight or nine and leave them to do it on their own. Get them started by attracting them with all sorts of cards, stationery, fun stamps, stickers, and colorful pens.

8. Not saying bad words

Swearing is a big no-no, so stop yourself from swearing when you’re in front of your kids. You’re their biggest role model. Even if they don’t realize what those bad words mean, they are quite good imitators.

9. Shaking hands

Don’t allow your kids to make the mistake of giving limp handshakes. Coach them right. It all starts with standing up, extending their hand, using a firm grip, grasping the other person’s hand, and shaking it firmly while introducing themselves.

10. Using the electronics at the right moments

Electronics, particularly cell phones, should not be used in tables, movies, performances, concerts, churches, concerts, or schools. And most importantly, don’t ever use your phone while driving, or your kids might assume that they can do it someday, too.

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