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In the past month, I have been looking for a nice method on how to teach manners to young kids. My son is a very kind child and he really follows our family rules (almost all the time :-)), but I needed to find a way to teach him manners in a playful way! If you are also looking for a nice method to use with your child, I hope that you’ll find inspiration here! At the end of the article, you can download our printable “Litlle manners books”. This is a really helpful resource for us and maybe it would be great for your kids too!
I’ve found some interesting online resources about teaching manners to kids, but I haven’t found something focused on young kids. This is why I decided to create my own resources to help me teach Bogdan about some important manners.
How to teach manners to young kids: Our approach
At this point, Bogdan has learned a lot of things about social interactions and the reason why it’s important to be kind and respectful to other people. What is still difficult for him to do is use the “magic” words (like “please” or “thank you”). The reason behind this is that he is a little shy and speaking with other people is not really something he does easily. Even greeting someone makes him nervous sometimes, so I didn’t want to push him to do things that he isn’t comfortable with.
Instead, I’ve tried to tell him why these things are important to other people and why it would be great to use them. I always try to be a role model for him when it comes to social interactions, but I also created a little book about manners to allow us to discuss them more.
I never put pressure on him to say things that are polite, but I always try to remind him what would be polite to do. Now he knows all the rules about being polite and we talk about them pretty often. The only two rules that I insist on at this point are those about sharing toys and taking turns. They are really important in our daily interactions in the park, so I’m glad that he manages to be kind and cooperative in almost all situations.
He is still not prepared to say “please”, “thank you” or “I’m sorry” in all situations, but I’m sure that he will learn this in time. 🙂 I want him to learn this in a playful way, so I don’t put any pressure on him regarding this. I have seen real progress since we’ve been using the little manners book and I think it will get even better with time!
Our list of 12 important manners for young kids
There are a lot of lists on the internet with tons of manners that parents can teach to their children. But I think that toddlers and preschoolers cannot manage a large amount of information and the best approach is to focus on the most important ones. This is why I’ve created this list, that in my opinion contains the essential rules every young child should know.
1. We greet people with “HELLO” when meeting and “BYE-BYE” when leaving
2. We say “PLEASE” when asking
3. We say “THANK YOU” when receiving
4. We let others finish before we speak
5. We say “EXCUSE ME” when bumping into someone
6. We say “I’M SORRY” when doing something wrong to someone
7. We wash our hands before and after meals
8. We clean after ourselves and we always put all the garbage in the bin
9. We cover our mouth when coughing or sneezing
10. We use kind words with everyone
11. We ask permission when taking someone else’s things and we return them
12. We wait for our turn when sharing toys or waiting in line
You have probably noticed that I use the plural for all of them. This is how I always teach Bogdan about manners: by speaking about them as rules that we all need to follow. For him, it was useful to know that being polite is something adults should also do. He even watches us carefully to see if we respect the rules and he tells me if he thinks we made something wrong.
The “Little manners book” and a game for teaching manners
The “Little manners book” that I’ve created is a mini-book with only 5 pages. It is simple and short because young kids don’t have a lot of patience, so I wanted it to be something easy to use with them.
After reading the mini-book several times to your child, you can also try a game to check if he understood everything.
This is the game that we use: First, I read all the rules from the mini-book. Then it is his turn to “read” the book (even if he doesn’t know to read yet): I say the first part of the rule and he needs to complete it. This way the reading is more interactive and fun for him! At the end, I tell him about different situations and I ask him what he thinks it would be polite to do. For example, I say: “In the park, a little girl hit another girl because she was really angry. What it would be nice for her to do now?”. Inviting him to tell me his opinion is a great way to remind him about the rules and to prepare him for similar situations.
(see below the instructions for downloading the printable file)
Download the “Little book of manners” for young kids
Our printable file contains:
– a poster with the 12 manners that you can display in your home and use anytime you want to discuss manners with your child
– the 5-page mini-book for teaching manners to young kids.
I really hope that you’ll like it and that it will help you teach manners to your child in a playful and nice way!
To download the printable you just need to enter your email address below. This will give you access to the Playful Notes community. There you will find a lot of other ideas and our full printable collection. We hope you’ll enjoy it!
photo credit: Canva.com