Social Etiquette: Why Teaching Children Manners Early is Important


Teaching kids manners is not only important but essential to providing kids life long skills.  Kids should be taught manners early in life, even before you think they can fully understand what you are teaching them.  Social etiquette goes a very long way in a person’s life and the earlier you start the better it is not only for your children but also for you. Teaching social etiquette is not something that has an end, it is an endless lesson throughout a child’s life.

Why Teaching Kids Social Etiquette is Important

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We have all been there when you are out in public and witness very bad manners and you might possibly wonder where did they learn such bad manners.  From talking with your mouth full to being downright rude to people, social etiquette goes a long way.  Manners are not something that is a given in today’s society.  Kids are not taught them in school, so it is up to you as a parent to teach social etiquette at home and in society.

Manners are more than just wiping your face on your napkin instead of your sleeve and waiting for your turn to talk.  Good manners are important in all aspects of life.  From school, social settings, to eventually the workplace and dating world.  No one wants to be around someone who is rude and disrespectful in various aspects of their life.

Social etiquette is also important because it will make your child feel included in those around him or her.  If your child is the only one who is being unruly or doesn’t know they need to wait their turn or not talk with their mouth full they will stick out.  Eventually, your child will not be around you more often than they are home with you.  This is a slow shift in the family dynamics but eventually, you will not always be there to tell them what to do.  Teaching a solid foundation of proper social etiquette will last for years and be there for your child when you are not.  

Read More: A Beginner’s Guide to Manners: Thank You Notes

Social Etiquette-Start Early and Lead by Example

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Social etiquette is more than knowing which fork goes where and knowing when you should and shouldn’t speak.  First and foremost it starts at home from very early as kids learn almost everything from the beginning just by observing and watching.  You have probably said a bad word or done something you wouldn’t want your kid to do, only to turn around and have them do exactly that and usually at the worst possible moment in front of others!

Everyone has those off moments, luckily one bad moment is not going to ruin all of the good habits and social etiquette you are teaching your kids.  It is the everyday actions, the teaching by showing.  Social etiquette starts early and it starts at home.  The example you show and set at home will stick with your child for many years to come.  Kids are little sponges and will soak up everything they are exposed to the good and the bad. So remember when are trying to teach your kids good manners, you will also need to keep the bad manners at bay.

Social etiquette is about showing little girls to be ladylike, boys to be respectful to women and everyone to respect their elders and hold the door open for others.  Knowing when to pitch in and help clean up when you are the guest, speaking when it is your turn, using a napkin properly.  Speak kindly, think before you speak, and know that your words and actions mean something to someone else.  Simple actions go a long way and children are sponges and will soak up everything you do.  Setting a good example and teaching proper social etiquette will last a lifetime.

Read More: 5 Tips for Teaching Table Manners

What Manners to Start Teaching at What Ages


We all know manners are important and you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t think so as well.  You want to do right by your child and teach them the best possible manners and social etiquette early on.  It is also not rocket science, there is not a perfect way to teach children something.  All kids learn differently and some kids pick up on certain things very early on and then conveniently “forget” them when they are going through certain ages.

Before the age of two, you really just need to focus on the “magic” words.  Saying “Please”, “Thank You”, “You’re Welcome”, “May I” and “No Thank You”.  The first steps of social etiquette are as simple please and thank you, apologizing when appropriate, knowing when to use a tissue and napkin.

Between three and six years of age, social etiquette for kids starts to go a bit further and learning to share with others, picking up after themselves, helping around the house with simple tasks from setting the table to changing the toilet paper roll.  If a kid doesn’t like the simple task of setting the table but really enjoys helping clean up, help them by giving them the tasks they enjoy the most and weave in other tasks periodically.

As your child enters second grade to preteen years, they will learn how far being gracious goes, learning to be a good sport, and respecting others’ privacy and belongings.  From writing thank you notes, learning how to be a team player as well showing good sportsmanship are manners and social etiquette that will help children during their teenage years and beyond.  Family Education has so many more great tips for you and your family from the toddler years into early adulthood.  

Read More: 4 Topics To Avoid When Engaging With Others & Their Children

From learning to say please and thank you to knowing when to say excuse me when to speak up in a conversation.  Social etiquette learned early on will help you raise polite children who have learned the correct manners from the dinner table and beyond to carry them throughout their life. Proper manners and social etiquette will help create a more well-rounded person that will only help your child throughout their life and in the long run, make your life easier too!

Check out this article: Raising Kids With an Attitude of Gratitude

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