10 Good Manners Every Kid Should Know
One of the most difficult things about parenting is how to teach kids good manners.
As adults, we are more used to following rules unquestioningly than we would like to admit. It’s because we have the logic worked out in our subconscious: ‘I will follow the dress code because it’s handy and sets the tone at the office’ or ‘I need to wash my hands because I don’t want to eat germs.’ We don’t say these out loud, but we know. And if we don’t, we do it out of social or economic ‘compulsion’. A child may not even spell that word right, forget about understanding it.
Kids are not bound by compulsion, they are bound by instinct and logic, as Mother Nature wanted it. Good manners, like good and healthy habits of kids, are grounded in logic. Once you explain why they are doing what they are doing, they turn good manners and good habits into instinctive action. This stays on for life. It’s a better gift than almost anything else you can give them.
Based on our experience of working with kids (and their parents) and advice from children’s education experts we coordinate with, we have tried to logically explain what are good manners for students and kids in general.
1. Hygiene is an ‘in thing’:
Tell them not to dig their nose or tickle their ears too often and in public, and wash their hands after they do so. Maintaining privacy on this is good manners because it’s simply the hygienic way. The same applies to covering their mouth and nose while coughing, sneezing, belching. If any of it happens in public, they need to say ‘excuse me’. Hygiene is important, it stops spreading disease, and all children hate being sick.
2. Grooming post COVID 19:
Till spring 2020, cleanliness was supposed to be step one of instilling what are good manners for students. But now it’s a necessity for even toddlers. Set them a daily rhythm: brush, wash, dress, comb, mask. Clean shoes, clean clothes and regular bathing are weapons to fight sickness. Being dirty is not good manners, it’s an offence to spread germs.
3. Manners start at home:
Good manners for kids include being polite. It’s indirectly rude if they leave behind a messy bed, untidy desk, scattered toys and books or forget to shut the windows. Shirking these chores is like saying, “I don’t care who will clean my mess, but I’m not going to do it.” Say this out loud to them to make them realize how impolite and spoilt it sounds.
4. Work deserves respect:
Encourage children to wash their own clothes, wash dishes, lay out dinner, and take out garbage. No work is small. Respecting other’s efforts and good manners in kids come naturally when they understand the value of effort.
5. Not just thanks:
We all have memories of being taught to say thank you, welcome, and please in early childhood. No list of good manners for kids can exclude these. Go one step further, tell them why. And teach them the importance of polite refusals. Thanking someone for a gift or food or service is important to show appreciation. But refusing food from strangers is also important. Good manners in kids are not one sided, it includes saying both ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
6. Resources are valuable:
Wasting is bad manners. Be it food, water or electricity, resources are valuable. Not wasting food, closing the tap, switching off lights and fans is part of good manners for all kids if they are to grow up in a better world.
7. Learn to share:
Sharing excess resources is equally important. Encourage kids to give away used products and clothes to less privileged children. Instead of tossing a coin, they should give food to beggars. Learning to share is an essential part of the new age kids’ good manners list.
8. Unlock goodness :
Set rules for mobile manners. You can read our full article on reducing screen time to tackle this common parenting problem. Organising folders in a computer, not fiddling with locked mobiles, not snooping behind someone else while they are keying in: all of these are very important as kids’ good manners. Set TV watching and smart device usage rules, ensure obedience by setting an example yourself.
9.The beginning of PD :
The more ‘cool’ sounding concept of Personality Development (PD) starts with teaching what are good manners for students. No bickering with siblings and friends, no asking for extra favours, no backbiting. A well mannered kid knows the importance of respecting teachers and treating the house help well.
10. Live and let live:
Kindness, like politeness, is a difficult concept to teach. Start by encouraging kids to be kind to pets and strays alike, water potted plants but appreciate roadside trees too. If kids’ good manners include leaving a bowl of water for birds in summer or teaching younger street children – he or she won’t need an online course on empathy as a teen.
Each child is unique; at times, uniquely naughty. This piece will give you some methods to teach your kids good manners. But we want to hear your stories on teaching good manners to your little one. Write it, mail it, and win an exciting Kids Learning Game Pack from us.