If you ask any child if they want to learn about manners and social skills they will most likely say, “NO!” However, we know how critical it is for children to have nice manners and confident social skills. Having good social skills will help them make friends, do better in school, and to get a job and be promoted throughout their career. So… it’s our job to teach them manners and social skills whether they want to learn or not.
After many years of teaching manners to literally thousands of children, I have some suggestions on ways to teach kids that don’t involve yelling or nagging, but instead, are centered around fun and family time. Here are my simple tips…
1. Talk to you kids about WHY they need to have nice manners. Telling a child why something is important will help them know that you are doing it for their own good, and that you didn’t just make this stuff up! I’m not saying that kids will really care, but at least they know why we care.
2. SHOW them what to do to have nice manners. This means show them what they need to do to have nice table manners, confident introductions, polite guest skills, etc. If a child isn’t taught the proper way to do something, you cannot expect them to do it! If you are unsure about what to teach your kids, watch videos yourself or with your kids, and also play the game Blunders with them so that you will learn together.
3. READ children’s books about manners. There are many good books on manners at the library or to purchase. One of my favorites for older girls is the one from American Girl called, A Smart Girl’s Guide to Manners.
4. PLAY games with your kids to teach them manners. There are many game apps on manners that you can download and have your children play on their own, but I do think it’s best to play a game about manners and social skills WITH your kids so that you can have discussions about why things are important and explain things to them that they need to really understand. I am biased, but the best (okay, really the only) game on manners and social skills that is on the market is the one I invented called, Blunders. It has over 300 questions that are funny and interactive and kids have fun while trying to help the Blunder kids learn to have better manners. The game can be purchased at toy stores or on Amazon. Click HERE for more information about the game.
5. USE Manner Mats during a meal. Okay, so I again I am biased because I created Manner Mats and Manner Mat Preschool, but these are tear-off placemats that kids and adults can use during a meal. They have games and activities that teach manners in a really fun way, and they encourage conversation between people at the table with the conversation starters and funny history of manners. Manner Mats can be purchased online and for more information click HERE.
6. WATCH videos. I remember Barney had a good video when my kids were little, but I am sure there are others ones on the market that you can show your children. Children love to watch movies so why not have it be an educational one? There are also videos online that you can watch about how to teach kids table manners, etc. Click HERE for a list of videos.
7. SEND kids to classes on manners. There are many people around Charlotte who offer classes on manners. You can find them online or through country clubs or Park & Recreation departments. I will be offering two classes this winter/spring in Davidson, NC. Click HERE for more information.
8. BE CONSISTENT and RELENTLESS. Keep reinforcing polite manners with your children until they automatically do things like shake hands with adults when they meet them, immediately put their napkin in their lap when they sit down to eat, and tell parents when leaving after a play date, “Thank you for having me over.” Our kids will be on their own way too soon and so we must make sure they are prepared to go out into the world a polite and well-mannered person so that they will have more opportunities in life.
For more information on manners and classes, please go to Finesseworldwide.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!