September is Children’s Good Manners Month! What a great time to teach kids, and help them brush up on their, manners!
Having good manners is an important social skill for everyone to master. In order to get along in our world, we need to abide by certain guidelines and treat others with respect and kindness. Saying “please,” “thank-you,” “you’re welcome,” “excuse me,” and so on at the right time and in the right circumstances are just some of the many ways to demonstrate good manners.
Many children do not know what good manners are or how to use them, and often they do not have enough opportunities to practice them. Manners aren’t something children automatically know. They need to be taught to use them and to be given ongoing opportunities to practice them.
In addition to teaching kids to use good manners in various situations, it’s important to teach them the reasons we use manners. We need to help them to understand that we don’t just say “please” and “thank you” because it sounds good. They need to see the bigger picture and what these words and phrases mean.
Some of the underlying reasons for using good manners include:
- Respect (admiration, high opinion, esteem, reverence, value, letting people know that they matter, that you think they matter and are worthwhile)
- Consideration (thoughtfulness, concern, thinking about how our actions will affect others)
- Kindness (generosity, sympathy, compassion, gentleness, thoughtfulness, caring)
- Friendliness (openness, sociability, saying hello, greeting and welcoming others)
- Helpfulness (kindness, goodwill, concern, care, cooperation, support)
- Gratitude (thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness, letting others know that we notice and appreciate what they did for us)
Most of the manners we use express one or more of these reasons. For example, using words like “please,” “excuse me,” and “you’re welcome” shows respect. Holding the door open for someone or offering to carrying something for someone reflects helpfulness. Saying “I’m sorry” when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings shows kindness. Saying “hi” and smiling at someone conveys friendliness. Inviting someone to join your group shows kindness and consideration. Saying “thank you” expresses gratitude. Using good table manners shows respect.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll feature various ideas, suggestions and activities for helping kids learn and use good manners. Please feel free to share your ideas as well!