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Manners matter

Sara Kendall is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina who contributes to a variety of parenting publications and websites. She is a mother of two daughters, whose highly excitable girls provide her with a wealth of writin...

Children with good manners shine

Our style of communication has become more relaxed and casual. This is fine for a text or email, but don't let this lack of formality keep you from missing opportunities to equip your child with ways to show kindness.

A few, simple gestures that are often overlooked will take your child further in life, now and in their future.

The magic words

Please and thank you are the most powerful words anyone can use. Incorporating these three pleasing words into your child's daily vocabulary and routine will make a difference. Teach your child to use please when asking for something. Using this one simple word will impress adults and they will be more likely to accommodate your child's needs. Showing appreciation by saying thank you, your child will always leave a good impression.

Excuse me

It's best not to let your child get in the habit of interrupting conversations. It's best to wait until the other person's sentence or thought has been completed. However, there will be times when breaking into a conversation already in progress will be necessary. In these cases, a polite "Excuse me" works well. It is the best way to be recognized by the other speakers and establish that you have something to say and good reason to interrupt their conversation.

Being a doorman

Holding the door open for someone is a good deed. It promotes kindness, and this gesture will bring on the smiles. Your child might not have the upper body strength to hold a door with just their arms, so show them to place their back against the door to use their full body weight to support it.

The golden rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! This famous saying's complex language could be above your child's comprehension. It's an important life message, so bring it down to their level by saying, "treat others how you want to be treated." Give some real-life examples so it will resonate with your child for a deeper understanding. Sending out good karma will benefit all aspects of your child's life. If you can't be anything else, be nice. It will come back to them in so many positive ways.

More about manners

Polite kids: Common courtesy revisited
Why teach kids some old-fashioned decorum?
Kids and manners: Start with the basics

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