Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 17 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Antioch
Aleteia logo
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

How to teach young children the first rules of politeness


Yuganov Konstantin - Shutterstock

Edifa - published on 12/30/20

Saying good morning, thank you, goodbye is an important part of a child's education.

Sometimes, when we come across a very polite child, we tell ourselves that their parents are incredibly lucky, as if politeness were luck. However, politeness is not a matter of chance. It doesn’t magically appear with most people, but can—and dare I say must—be acquired. It is the fruit of patience and consistency by parents who care about their child’s welfare.

Politeness makes everyday life infinitely more pleasant, and human relations so much easier. It is like the oil in a machine. Politeness is pleasant for the person on the receiving end, but first and foremost for the person who employs it. Consider the child who feels more at ease with adults by knowing how to say good morning. In the same way, the one who receives the act of politeness knows that he or she has been the object of another’s attention. It is thus imperative to teach our children, from the time they are very young, these rules of courtesy.

Repetition pays off

The transmission of this life skill became hindered when politeness came to be considered a series of rules and social conventions that we should break away from. The loss of deference to authority and honoring elders has certainly contributed to that. The use of politeness requires a relationship of respect, of a giver and a receiver, of a teacher to one being taught.

We need to apply ourselves to this task as parents because everything becomes easier when our children acquire manners. From 18 months on, a child can say thank you. He still doesn’t speak, but it doesn’t matter, he will imitate the gesture of his parents who gives him a cookie by opening and closing her hand: the first gesture of recognition that says thank you. We can then move on quickly to teaching them to wait to let an adult go first, to have them repeat “I’m sorry,” when they cross in front of someone. And a young child can understand “good morning” and “good night.”

Teaching politeness takes perseverance and repetition. It will only be effective if you are consistent and if you model manners in your own life.

Inès de Franclieu


Read more:
8 Modern manners you need to adopt at Mass

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
Agnès Pinard Legry
Three brothers ordained priests on the same day in the Philippine...
Cerith Gardiner
Archbishop gives little girl a beautiful response about why God a...
difficult people
Zoe Romanowsky
How to love people you don’t really like
Margaret Rose Realy, Obl.OSB
The ‘Tree of Death’ haunts many a cemetery
Philip Kosloski
How the violence in ‘Squid Game’ can impact your soul
Larry Peterson
This is the only officially recognized Marian apparition in the U...
See More