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Diana Mather is a British etiquette and presentation skills tutor based in Cheshire and London. She is the author of eleven books, including four children’s books.

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Published

22 May 2023

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What are manners and why are they important for your children?

Having manners means being kind, considerate and respectful, and if we all had good manners the world would be a much nicer place. But how do we teach these vital skills? 

It all starts in the home. Children learn from those who look after them – we are role models, so we must be aware of the messages we may be transmitting unconsciously. It should be ‘do as I say and do as I do’!

Children need good manners to interact with adults and their peers and good social skills to navigate the world they are growing into. It is said by some that good manners open more doors than a good education. As a mother of two and grandmother to six, here are the first three basic steps I use when I start to teach children good manners

‘Please’ and ‘thank you’.

These should be two of the most valuable words in your child’s vocabulary! When your little one demands a toy or a drink – stop and ask them to say the first magic word (‘please’) and before you give it to them, stop and ask them to say the second magic word (thank you) and you will soon find it becomes second nature. Learning by repetition works well for this.

Sharing

This is essential if children will make friends and enjoy playing with others, so encourage them to share toys, books, and sweets.  Persuade them to let others join in their games when they come to play. Congratulate good sharing when you see it happen.

Good table manners

Nothing is worse than seeing children eat with their mouths open or shovel in food as fast as possible. “Keep your mouth shut when you chew, that’s the proper thing to do.” Make manners fun, and it will work better. Ensure they sit at the table for meals and don’t leave until they ask to do so. It is good manners to encourage your child to thank the person who has prepared the meal. You’ll find your friends are very impressed when this happens without prompting.

The benefit of good manners

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