Teaching your kids proper responses will go a long way towards how they are perceived by others. A kid that says, “Yes, Ma’am” and “Thank You” will always be held in higher esteem by others. Politeness and manners are the stepping stones to success. Here’s the good news, manners and using polite words can be taught at any age. Of course, it’s easier to teach manners to your younger kids, but even adults can improve. Once kids learn that they are expected to use polite words and it’s reinforced on a regular basis, it becomes a habit that benefits them long term.
What are the necessary polite words that kids need to use?
- Thank You – Teach your kids that whenever you receive something from someone say, “Thank you”. A “Thank you” doesn’t have to just for receiving a gift. Teaching them to say, “Thank you” can also include: after the waiter brings your food, when the cashier gives you your change, when someone opens the door for you, when someone helps you carry something, when someone makes a meal for you…. The list can go on indefinitely. Make it a habit for them to acknowledge someone every time they receive something.
- Please – Teach your kids to say, “Please” anytime they ask for something. Some times to say, “Please” can include: when asking for help, when asking for food, when asking for an item, when asking for a favor… Again, this list could go on indefinitely. Make saying, “Please” a habit for your kids.
- Yes, Ma’am or Yes, Sir – Showing respect to adults is huge. I didn’t grow up saying this, and I didn’t do a great job of teaching my kids to do it on a regular basis. I do know that I respond favorably to kids that acknowledge me with a, “Yes, Ma’am”. People have a more positive view of kids that show this type of respect to adults.
- Excuse Me – Have you ever had someone bump into you and not even acknowledge that you were there? A simple, “Excuse Me” would have made a big difference in how you perceived that person. Teach your kids to say, “Excuse Me” anytime they bump into someone, get in someone’s way, burp, are trying to get past someone, are trying to get someone’s attention… Those two simple words will change people’s perceptions of your kids.
- Mr./Mrs./Miss – I’ve heard kids calling adults by their first names and it has a totally different impact than when they use Mr./Mrs./Miss with the last name. It’s a huge step towards making a positive impression on others. A basic rule to teach your kids is: any adult who is out of high school should be referred to as Mr./Mrs./Miss. If you have college age kids, teach them to use Mr./Mrs./Miss whenever they are talking to someone their parent’s age or older, a teacher, or a boss. Teach them to show respect to adults when they are young and it will stay with them when they are older.
Visit my Pinterest Manners Board for some more great examples of how to teach your kids polite words that make a difference: Pinterest
My Story – I had to become a school teacher before I really understood the impact of using, “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Ma’am”. The kids that automatically responded to me in that manner were seen as better behaved. I had to consciously work to make my students use those phrases when speaking to me. It’s a sign of respect and obedience. I still have to work to remember to have the kids answer me with those phrases. I didn’t grow up saying them and I have never really internalized them. That’s another reason for starting early with teaching your kids manners. It’s easier and it becomes a part of their normal vocabulary.
What “polite words” do you think kids should always say?