How Do You Teach Kids Manners and Respect?

When it comes to raising kids you’ll have to learn ways to teach your kids how to use their manners and what respect means. Being a parent is full of many responsibilities, and those responsibilities don’t seem to lessen as the kids get older. Teaching kids manners and respect in a purposeful way comes down to creating a lifestyle that encourages your kids to comprehend manners and respect naturally. If you’re looking for ways to purposefully teach kids manners and respect then you’ll enjoy these tips I’m sharing today.  This post contains affiliate links.

How to teach kids manners and respect

How Do You Teach Kids Manners and Respect?


Model Manners and Respect

Let’s face it, being married is no piece of cake. There will be times that your spouse upsets you or you don’t use proper manners and respect when handling various stressors in married life. While this is completely normal, the key is to remember that your kids are watching you. When it comes to being more aware of how to purposefully teach your kids manners and respect, it’s all about being a good role model. Whenever you’re feeling angry or make a mistake or treat someone in the house with disrespect or don’t use your manners out of frustration, be certain to correct your behavior so that your kids are able to see that no one is perfect but they can work to correct mistakes when manners or respect isn’t properly modeled.

Family Rules

Set Some Rules

At the end of the day kids truly thrive best on routine and rules. When it comes to trying to find ways to purposefully teach kids manners and respect you’ll want to start by setting some household rules. You may want to create a beautiful canvas sign in the home that features these house rules that set forth the expectations of manners. Having a beautiful decor canvas hung up in a family room that cites how each family member is expected to treat each other will help inspire your kids to visualize the rules each day without feeling the pressure to be perfect. Whenever your kids don’t follow these simple rules about manners and respect, you can have a consequence or discussion surrounding how they can try harder next time.  (The sign above can be found here on Amazon)

365 Manners Kids Should Know

Be The Coach

Your kids may learn some manners and respect through watching your example, there are times where kids will need a little coaching to truly get the concept of manners and respect down. Whenever you’re out in public or sitting down to dinner at home, try to be the coach to your kids. Being a coach for your kids means having more open discussions about when to use what manners and how to properly behave at a dinner table. While you will continue to lead by example, talking about the expectations of manners and when to properly use them will help you more purposefully teach kids about manners and respect in a way that will stay with them longer.  I’ve personally found that using books to teach manners is helpful. One that I’m wanting to buy is a popular book I found on Amazon called 365 Manners Kids Should Know.  It has 4.5 stars.

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to purposefully teaching kids manners and respect. The idea is to figure out how each your kids learn best. Manners and respect are something that must be taught at a young age and reinforced throughout the entirety of childhood. Using these tips to teach kids manners and respect will help inspire a more positive family lifestyle where your kids utilize manners regularly without a reminder as they get older.

Teaching Toddlers Manners

Teaching Toddlers Manners

I spend a good part of each day thinking about how to raise the little people in my life.  I want them to be good citizens.  I want them to treat others with respect, to be kind to others, to have empathy, and on and on the list goes.  I know that NOW is the time to teach them or to train them, if you will.  Now.  Not tomorrow or next year.  Day in and day out they are picking up on the things I say and do and are adding that to their repertoire.  They may carry some of those things with them the rest of their lives.  Oh, how I long for those to be good things!

I am the farthest thing from being the end all, be all parent.  I don’t have it all together and I don’t want to pretend to.  I’m not an extraordinary parent who knows all the right things to say at the right time but I am parent who cares.  Cares immensely.  Here is a list of things that I’m currently trying to teach my three year old toddler.

What I’m Trying to Teach:

  1. To say “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “God bless you,” and other niceties.  So far she’s doing pretty good at all of these except for when someone compliments her dress or hair and then she’ll just say “I know.”  Sometimes she’ll correct herself though so I know she’s making progress. : )
  2. To speak politely.  Example: “Mommy, may I have more water please?” instead of “I want more water.”
  3. To have basic table manners.  Chewing with her mouth closed, not playing with her food, using a napkin, etc.
  4. To “play nice” with others.  Learning to take turns and put others before herself.  Adults still have trouble with this, don’t we?
  5. To not interrupt an adult when they are talking.  She has a ways to go on this one.  A friend of mine has her daughter touch her arm to let her know that she wants to talk to her and will keep her hand there until her mom is finished talking with a friend and turns to talk to her.  I think this is a great idea!  I’m excited to try and put it into practice with my kids.
  6. To make eye contact when talking and to practice good listening skills.  Good listening skills are critical for learning and social interaction.
  7. To say “excuse me” when she needs to get past someone.
  8. To say “I’m sorry” AND mean it.  Not only “I’m sorry” but also “Will you forgive me?”
  9. To say “Hello” and “Goodbye” at appropriate times.
  10. To try and cheer someone up when they are sad.  A hug and a kiss is sometimes all it takes at this age. She does this one wonderfully…too much so sometimes.  She knows that it makes Daddy sad when she does something she’s not supposed to do and she’ll try to kiss her way around a punishment.  She thinks that her kisses will make Daddy happy and he’ll forget about her punishment. I gotta give her credit for trying!
  11. To address adults as “sir” and “ma’am.”  I’d like to be totally old school and have my kids address adults as Mr.Milton instead of Joseph or Mr.Joseph but that’s proving challenging since that’s not what my daughter watches us say.  Which is just another reminder to me that manners are caught rather than taught.
  12. To wait till everyone is served before eating and to ask “may I be excused” after they’re finished eating.  We still make our daughter sit with us until we’re finished so we have one less toy mess to clean up after we clean up dinner.
  13. To clean up after herself.  Toys, dirty clothes, tissues, books, etc.  Everything has a place and if they pulled it out I want (my enormous goal!) is for them to put it back.
  14. To cover her face when they cough or sneeze.

How I’m Trying to Teach Them:

Learning manners

1.)  Kids emulate what they see.  I want to do my best to allow them to see good manners as often as possible.

Don't Allow Your Mood to Dictate Your Manners

I want to practice good manners even when, no, especially when I don’t feel like it.  Don’t allow your mood to dictate your manners.

2.) Kindly remind them of what they need to be doing and why before hand.  I’m trying to remind my daughter what the Bible says about kindness, obedience, etc.  She has memorized verses about kindness but going over them in the car as we’re on the way to a friend’s house for a play date will help remind her to be kind.  Will it always work?  Certainly not but I’ve found it to help.

3.)  Kindly correct wrong behavior.  Sometimes asking what’s the correct way to chew will do wonders for my daughter’s table manners.  A soft tone and a hand on the shoulder doesn’t hurt in these circumstances.

4.)  I want my kids to understand what they’re feeling and be able to talk about it.  Closely related to that, I want them to observe how others are feeling.  If my daughter sees a friend fall down I want her to go over and ask her if she’s alright.  I feel that raising and developing a sensitive child who cares about others will do more good than a hundred etiquette classes.  Manners and caring about others is far more important than etiquette…in my book anyway.

5.)  I try to acknowledge my child in all surroundings.  When I’m with my friends, when we’re in a social gathering with many adults, at church, anywhere!  I want my daughter, and one day my son, to know that I’m still there for them and that they are part of the action.  I’ll stay physically close to them and occasionally make eye contact and smile.

6.)  I try to make eye contact with my daughter when she’s talking to me.  As a multi-tasking mom it’s not always easy but I want to make sure she knows that she is important to me…even when she’s just rambling on about a dream her stuffed animal had.  If it’s important to her, I want her to know that I’m listening.  I also want that same respect back.  Sometimes I’ll say, “I can’t hear you if you’re not looking at me.”  That’s not true and probably confuses the dear child but she’ll look at me and continue with her request.  {I also do the same thing with a whiny request.  I hate whining.}

7.)  Praise good manners!  I won’t always give in to a request but if it comes from a polite smiling child I’m a whole lot more likely to.  Even if I don’t give in it’s a great time for me to acknowledge their good manners.

I’m sure I’ve left off a dozen or so manners I would like to include on my list and one or two ways I’m trying to teach manners but  I think this is a good list to start with.  What are the manners you’re trying to teach your children or what ways have you found to be successful in teaching them?  I’d love to hear your ideas!