It’s never too early to teach children good manners. Elementary school is actually the perfect time to start teaching social skills. Adding etiquette for kids to your curriculum will help your students develop into mature and respectful adults.
Social skills impact us for our entire lives. That’s why starting off with strong etiquette for kids is important. But why does it matter?
Why Is Etiquette for Kids Important?
Children are constantly learning and making connections. Childhood is a critical time to teach kids the skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
That doesn’t just mean reading, writing, and arithmetic!
Adding etiquette for kids into your classroom teaches your students skills that will help them on every step of their journey.
Those benefits will show up in your classroom, too! Well-mannered children are easier to teach and will have an easier time navigating social situations in the future.
We need social skills, like etiquette, to effectively navigate life.
Those skills let us form genuine human connections. Children, like adults, want to connect. They want to make friends and bring joy to the people around them. Learning manners gives them the skills to do that.
Good manners are all about self-respect. Teaching etiquette for kids is about teaching children to value themselves and recognize their effect on the people around them.
Areas of Etiquette For Kids to Teach to Elementary Students
Teaching etiquette for kids is easier than you think. Manners can be fun! In fact, you’re probably already encouraging children to use etiquette in your elementary school classroom.
I’m going to go over four specific areas you can focus on when teaching your elementary-aged kids. By starting with these easy areas (that you probably already cover!), you can shape the next generation.
These 4 areas are:
Learning how to be empathetic to others is essential for people of all ages. Teach your students how to think about the world outside of themselves. Children should learn that every individual lives a life as rich and emotional as their own.
This can be as easy as asking them to notice when another student is not smiling or is feeling unwell. Your students will begin to naturally attune themselves to the people around them. It’s a skill that will help them build stronger connections with others for the rest of their life.
Ask your students to tell you how they help other people in the classroom. What examples can they give of times they practiced empathy?
Everybody can use a little more kindness in their life. Kindness to others is a form of kindness to ourselves.
It’s also something that can be taught when demonstrating etiquette for kids.
You can encourage kindness in your students using these methods:
Have your students practice giving one another complements. They can be about anything! Maybe someone has a really cool lunchbox or a beautiful smile.
Actively include everyone in activities. Encourage your students to encourage their classmates.
Incorporate gratitude in the classroom. Give your students an opportunity to share something they are grateful for every day.
Self-respect is at the heart of etiquette for kids. Even as adults, we use good manners because of how it makes us feel inside.
Well-mannered people feel confident and respected. That sense of confidence and respect from others helps us to develop our sense of self-respect. Using good manners actually makes us feel good about ourselves.
Encouraging your students to use good manners will build their confidence. Having self-respect will improve children’s lives as they grow into mature, confident adults.
When we respect others, we reap the benefits just as much as the people around us!
A child who is respectful of others is more likely to have a wider social circle. Other students will treat them better because they are being treated better. It’s reciprocal.
A child who respects others and respects themselves is easy to be around. This helps children create and maintain healthy relationships for the rest of their lives.
Where to Focus on Etiquette for Kids In An Elementary School Setting
I told you teaching etiquette for kids is easy, and it is! Here are some actionable ways you can utilize a manners curriculum.
In The Classroom
The classroom environment is a great place to teach children some basic etiquette skills. They have the opportunity to practice engaging in conversation with both their peers and your staff.
You can also encourage them to show gratitude. Whether it’s to other students, teachers, or the principal, there are many opportunities to practice giving thanks. Learning to write a proper thank you note will go a long way as they grow up!
You can also teach your students to give proper greetings and farewells. Say good morning when the day starts and goodbye in the afternoon. Practice good manners by making eye contact and smiling, rather than calling out as they run through the door.
In the Cafeteria
The cafeteria is another great place to implement etiquette activities. There are so many teachable moments around the table!
You can go way beyond the basics, but don’t forget to work on those, too! Students should start by learning to place napkins in their laps and chew with their mouths closed. From there, you can level up slowly!
Some easy ways to model etiquette for kids in the cafeteria include:
Model good conversations with your students by asking them lots of questions about themselves.
Encourage students to say please and thank you.
Teach your students to make eye contact when apologizing. They’ll pick up on it if you model it for them.
Encourage students to listen when others are talking and avoid interrupting.
Plan lunchtime activities that don’t include devices so that students have an opportunity to focus on one another and talk.
Elementary school is the perfect time to start teaching etiquette for kids. You have so many opportunities to encourage your students to be respectful of one another and themselves.
If you’re not sure where to start, give my manners curriculum a try! You’ll be able to share the joy of manners in a way that the children really respond to.
Teaching good manners in the classroom sets children up to become healthy, happy, and well-adjusted adults. A manners curriculum can make the difference between a student’s success and failure later in their lives.
Here’s why you should teach manners in your classroom.
Why Should Educators Consider A Manners Curriculum?
Although a manners curriculum may not have been part of your own education, it’s a valuable addition for children today.
Teaching manners in the classroom supports the development of children into well-adjusted members of society. Children of all ages can benefit from the addition of some well-placed manners lessons.
A manners curriculum gives students more opportunities to embrace. This sets them up for success in the future.
Unfortunately, many students aren’t taught proper manners or social skills in their homes. That’s why it’s such a valuable addition to classroom curriculum!
Children and teens still need to know these life skills, even if they aren’t learning at home.
A firm grasp on manners helps a child grow up into a responsible, caring, successful global citizen.
Benefits of Adding a Manners Curriculum to Your Classroom
It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching preschoolers or high school seniors. Students of all ages can benefit from a manners curriculum.
Adding this type of curriculum to your routine can give your students these valuable benefits!
Builds Foundational, Important Character In Students
A manners curriculum helps teach children values that will stick with them for life. These foundational character traits are actually about so much more than proper manners!
Students will build a foundation of trust in adults and society as a whole through this process. This is especially important if children aren’t receiving positive social interactions at home. Through their lessons, they learn respectful behavior habits, which will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Learning about manners gives students a sense of agency and makes them feel like important members of their community. When they feel that sense of connection, it’s easier for them to develop kindness.
A good manners curriculum also encourages students’ confidence. A confident child is better behaved and has an easier time making friends. A confident child feels comfortable showing off their true character. And, of course, a confident child is generally a happier child!
Teaching children how to be valuable parts of society includes helping them to develop leadership skills. Confident, well-behaved, and socially conscious children are more likely to embrace leadership opportunities. They are more likely to support the people around them and intuitively understand the nuances of leadership.
Helps Children Adapt To The World Around Them
A manners curriculum helps teach children to understand the world and enjoy life in a healthier way.
Children (and adults!) often feel stress because they aren’t sure what is expected from them in a given situation. This type of curriculum gives students the skills they need to interact with the world.
Good manners demonstrate a sense of self-awareness and respect towards others. It’s an exercise in empathy as much as anything else. Teaching children to show that they care by practicing good behaviors is a useful life skill.
Adding a manners curriculum also helps children learn to be positive. Throughout the curriculum, they are learning to interact with one another in genuine ways. They begin to monitor how their words and actions affect the people around them.
Build Important Lifelong Social Skills
A manners curriculum helps teach children lifelong social skills. For many students who aren’t receiving social guidance or positive interaction at home, it can impact their lives in significant ways!
Loneliness was something that children struggled with well before the pandemic. It’s an even worse problem now. Part of a manners curriculum is teaching children to build valuable conversation skills. They are given the opportunity to engage with adults and their peers in a healthy and meaningful way. They are taught that their words have value.
In learning basic table manners, children will learn a skill that will help them all throughout their lives. Educators spend their lunch with the students and are in the perfect position to teach them in a way that sticks.
Many children don’t even know where to place their napkin, how to hold a fork, or how to chew with their mouth closed. They will enjoy learning new skills, and their parents will certainly appreciate it too!
Adding a manners curriculum will help you to educate patient, thoughtful, and confident children. The social skills you impart will help them in situations way beyond the lunch table.
If you want to add a manners curriculum to your classroom and you need a little help, Manners To Go is the solution!
Patience is a skill that brings lifelong benefits. A patient person will have advantages in many situations, so it’s important to instill at a young age! Teaching patience to preschoolers may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right strategies, it’s a breeze.
Why Is Teaching Patience to Preschoolers Important?
Teaching patience to preschoolers is an important part of their learning to become a harmonious member of society.
Think of patience as the ability to tolerate delays or waiting without becoming upset. This is just as essential a skill for preschoolers as it is for adults.
How many tantrums come around because young children are asked to delay gratification in some form or another? As a parent, the chance of getting frustrated with your children is significantly smaller when they practice patience.
Teaching patience to preschoolers gives them a skill they will use for the rest of their lives. An impatient person will struggle at school, in their personal lives, and even in their professional lives later.
Patient children have the tools to excel in the classroom and the eventual workplace. A child who knows how to be patient contributes to a calmer classroom environment.
Plus, they’re better prepared for the jump to kindergarten!
Easy Tips for Effectively Teaching Patience to Preschoolers
Teaching patience to preschoolers may not seem like the easiest task at first. It may even seem impossible.
But having the right strategies will help you do this without stress!
The more your students learn from you, the better behaved they will be going forward.
Create a Positive Learning Environment
When you are teaching patience to preschoolers, focus on tiny elements to build a positive learning environment for the best results.
Those tiny elements can start as creating tiny habits around patience. Practicing those habits every day will cement them into lifelong coping skills.
One of the best ways to teach patience is to model it. You must be patient yourself!
Take advantage of opportunities to exemplify patience in the classroom. This will make your classroom a positive learning environment. When learning is a positive experience, your students will feel heard, acknowledged, and safe.
Here are some specific ways you can make teaching patience to preschoolers a positive experience.
Get on Their Level
Interact directly with the children you’re teaching. Kneel down and make eye contact.
Let your students know that you get it! You know what they’re learning is tough, but you also know that they can do this.
Make It Fun
Kids love to have fun! You can use this to your advantage when you’re teaching preschoolers patience.
Entice them with activities they enjoy. You can even include games and toys to help the lessons stick.
Preschoolers desire agency just like adults do.
By giving them options, you’re acknowledging their need to feel like they have some control. Choosing between two activities will keep them more engaged in what they’re doing.
When children are struggling with impatience, encourage them to participate in activities.
For example, if they’re impatient while waiting for a snack, you could let them pass out napkins. They stay busy and engaged instead of stressing about the wait!
Model Patience In The Classroom Whenever Possible (& Acknowledge It!)
When you’re teaching patience, you have to model patience! Seek opportunities to discuss, acknowledge, and show patience to your students.
When you’re teaching patience to preschoolers, you’ll have to practice patience plenty yourself. Use it as a teachable moment.
If you’re being patient, draw your students’ attention to it. Tell them how you are coping with the situation. They’re watching and learning from you!
Acknowledging student success is a critical part of making learning stick.
When children demonstrate patience in everyday encounters, praise them! When they’re struggling, be compassionate. Waiting isn’t fun for anyone, let alone toddlers!
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few creative ways to model patience in the classroom.
Practice Gratitude In The Classroom
Add gratitude practices to your daily activity list.
Let every student share something they’re grateful for. This could be something like a new toy, a sunny day, or a friend.
Teach your preschoolers to especially focus on gratitude when they are waiting for something.
Practice Waiting Behaviors
The way we behave when we’re waiting for something matters. It sends a message.
Have your students practice waiting behaviors regularly!
Maybe they smile, maybe they count. Or maybe they need a unique strategy. This is where you can creatively help students work through challenges!
Teaching patience to preschoolers has tremendous benefits for both the students and their teacher! Socializing will be so much smoother.
Plus, children who understand how to practice patience are a joy to teach. They are more responsive and less prone to outbursts.
With these strategies, and a little patience yourself, teaching patience to preschoolers is easy!
You may have seen Michele Borba, ED.D. on the Today Show giving advice on teaching character strengths to children.
I was lucky enough to see her speak at a school in Philadelphia. You can tell she is the EXPERT and one of the most passionate advocates for children and teens.
If you have not seen her, spend some time on You Tube to see and witness what I mean.
Thrivers: The Surprising Reason Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine
Dr. Borba says Thrivers are made not born.
Even before the pandemic, children were stressed, lonely and overwhelmed. According to Dr. Borba, we have focused so much on testing and being competitive, we have lost touch and not taught children how to be human.
When I read this….it caused a moment of pause. It is a profound statement and one I believe to be true.
Over the years as I have worked with parents, I often hear the comment “they will listen to you more than me”- meaning, when teaching manners, children listen to a third party. For some reason this is the way of the world.
Finding moments or dedicated time to teach manners in your classroom is actually very easy. Most likely you are using good social skills all day every day in the classroom (virtual or in-person).
Manners and Life Skills such as:
Eye contact: When using eye contact, point out what you are doing. As students use good eye contact, let them know you noticed.
Respect: Point out respectful behaviors as you see certain actions (helping others, expressing gratitude, holding the door, saying “good morning”)
Conversation skills: We have multiple conversations a day. Recognize students when they engage with each other. Conversation skills are becoming a lost art. This skill is the cornerstone of building friendships.
There has been a focus at the school level in many states to focus on the whole child.