As a parent, you like to think of your children as perfectly mannered little angels, but all kids have moments of bad behavior. Schoolteachers have reported having to put up with “rudeness and carelessness” from middle-schoolers. A lack of manners in the classroom can lead to a disruptive environment in which teachers spend more time struggling to regain control than equipping kids with the skills and information they need.
Why Manners Matter
Teaching kids manners can make them a joy to teach as well as helping them to get along with others. It’s important to equip kids with good general manners such as how to speak politely to others and the importance of waiting their turn to speak. These basic skills can help kids express themselves effectively in the classroom, which is a useful skill at all levels of education.
How to Teach Your Kids Manners
When teaching your children manners in order to prepare them for school, you will probably want to focus on the following areas:
- Classroom manners: Before your child goes to school for the first time, take the time to explain the basic classroom setup. Kids should understand that they need to listen to the teacher and raise their hand if they want to speak. It’s important to also teach them to listen to other kids, rather than talking over them or interrupting. You can practice these classroom manners at home by correcting kids when they interrupt their siblings.
- Manners for the playground: Rude kids are unlikely to be popular with their playmates. Teach kids the importance of waiting for their turn in playground games, as well as encouraging them not to play too rough with others. Your child may benefit from attending play sessions with other kids before they start school, so they can learn how to interact politely with others.
- Technology tips: If your kids are old enough to have smartphones or tablets, it’s important to teach them how to use these devices appropriately. Establish some tech-free zones, such as the dinner table, so kids get used to the idea that there are times when we have to put our devices away and focus on each other. There’s no need to keep your kids away from technology altogether, as mobile devices open up many opportunities for online learning, but it’s important to learn how to use them appropriately.
Lead by Example
Remember that kids learn by watching and mimicking their parents. Set a good example by listening when people are talking, patiently waiting your turn when driving or waiting in line, and speaking respectfully to other people in the household. If your kids grow up in an environment where good manners are the norm, you should find it relatively easy to keep them behaving well by giving gentle reminders.
Reinforce Good Behavior
When your kids display good manners, acknowledge their efforts. Kids love praise, particularly when it comes from their parents. Positive reinforcement of good manners can help your kids develop into well-behaved students who are ready to learn.
Teaching your kids manners at home can help them thrive in school. The most important aspect of teaching manners is consistency. Be consistent in praising good manners and correcting bad behavior, and you should soon see improvements.