Social etiquettes are picked up at a very young age. No matter how well children know about good and bad etiquettes, they will absorb the same into their behaviour only when they see you practising and demonstrating it. 1

Understanding and using good social manners has many positives. Children show courtesy, empathy and respect towards others. They are able to develop and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults. And importantly, it reflects on the child’s upbringing and education.2

Teaching basic social manners 2, 3

  • Be the person you want your child to be.
  • Sit down with your child and talk with them about why it is important to have good manners. Learn to be patient.
  • Practice good manners with your child at home at the dining table, during playtime, while answering phone calls or while helping you at home.
  • Introduce polite words – Introduce words like “Thank you,” “Please,” “May I…,” “Excuse Me” and “No, Thank You.”
  • Express and teach gratitude - There’s more to teaching manners than just words. Teach your child the importance of thanking people for gifts and other acts of kindness.
  • Encourage and praise good behaviour because they will repeat it.
  • Teach table manners.
  • Correct them on the spot but do it politely.
  • Don’t hold strong opinions about a group or person, at least in front of your child.
  • General basic social etiquettes that should necessarily be taught to children include- seeking permission before entering a door or while interrupting a discussion, pointing fingers, covering mouth while sneezing or coughing, controlling voice and tone, being good listeners, and many more.
  • Continue as your child grows. As the child grows, they will remember appropriate manners and need less guidance.


  1. Vicki Tuchtan. 7 ways to teach children good manners. Oct 2014; Sage Institute of Child Care.
  2. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016). Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21868.
  3. Nona Melnick, The Center for Parenting Education.