Teaching Children to use Manners and say thank around Parents Grandparents and other Adults

The manners a child learns, beginning at an early age, are the manners that they will carry with them into adulthood. Most young children model the manners and etiquette of the adults closest to them including parents, grandparents, and siblings. By setting the expectation that my grandchildren tell me “please and thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry, may I be excused from the table,” and other appropriate phrases, I am helping them learn the importance of manners along with the proper use of etiquette.

When my own children, now eighteen, nineteen, and thirty-two were growing up I taught them to use manners and they were expected to use the same etiquette out in public as they did at home, with me and their father using the same manners in order to lead the way. When we would be at the grocery store, when they were selling Boy Scout and Girl Scout products, when we took them trick-or-treating and other places adults always remarked on how well mannered and behaved my children as opposed to the manners of other children their age or older.

I get the same pleased and surprised remarks when my grandchildren who are three, seven, eight, and my twelve year old granddaughter who has Cerebral Palsy with no mental defect, are out with me or me and their parents. And I would give my grandchildren a little nudge if they were to forget to use their manners, which is very rare. And my nineteen year old daughter got her first job as a waitress at a Chinese restaurant at sixteen partly because of her politeness during the interview. Often, patrons would laud the owners of the restaurant in hiring such a well mannered young lady.

There are many children, unfortunately, especially those children between the ages of eight and eighteen, who do not use good manners or do not use any manners at all. This in turn, often leads to a show of disrespect or arrogance for parents, grandparents, and other adult community members. By setting an expectation that children use the manners they have been taught when speaking to me or spending time in my home, I am also teaching them that manners and respect go hand in hand.

As an Early Childhood Education Consultant and past author of a parenting newsletter column for at risk parents I stressed the importance of introducing manners into the home environment at an early age, having my thirty-two year old daughter begin teaching manners to my grandchildren beginning at two years old. And by having them use those manners with me at home, as well, has paid off ten fold.