The first year of school for your children is not only tough on you but also really tough on them. However, kindergarten is such an exciting time in their life. Usually, it’s a time where they get to meet new friends, play with new toys, and expand their minds and brains, all while having fun!
Although they’re in for some good times, there are a few things that we parents should make sure they know and can practice well before stepping foot in that schoolyard. Little things like everyday essential manners can go a long way and can make everyone’s lives around them a bit more pleasant both now and in future days. So here are ten essential manners you should teach your children to make sure they will be the best kid they can be.
10 Essential Manners to Teach Your Toddler
1. Please and thank you
I know this isn’t just me as a mom, but I sometimes forget to ensure my child says these three words to me every day. We can get busy and forget about them. But these are essential manners, and they’re important to teach your son and/or daughter to show gratitude whenever the opportunity arises.
2. Asking for things in a polite manner
This is similar to saying please and thank you, but many young children tend to be more courageous and daring at home than at school. It’s important to teach your child when to reach for something and when they should ask for something instead. Climbing on counters and desks to reach things is typically something that’s frowned upon by teachers and school staff – even if we moms sometimes let that slide at home!
3. Respect other’s opinions
I don’t know about you but being wrong is something kindergartners tend to have a problem with. This may be a bit early to instill this specific manner, but it’s definitely something to still discuss with them. Understanding that being right sometimes and wrong other times is just a way of life – and to respect others when they have their own opinions in certain situations (even if you think it may be a wrong opinion) is an important lesson to learn.
4. Cleaning up after themselves
This is something that is practiced a lot in Kindergarten – putting away their toys after playtime, putting books away after they’ve been read, cleaning up their lunch and garbage after they’ve eaten. It’s easy to make this a fun and enjoyable task for any child to learn. Turn it into a song, a dance, something that gets them moving a bit quicker, and making it into somewhat of a game for them really helps keep them engaged and follow instruction.
5. Washing their hands
Even when the world isn’t enduring a global pandemic, basic hygiene is essential to teach your child and is easily taught to a younger child. Much like cleaning up after themselves, there’s a lot of fun that can be had while doing this. For example, try to get through two rounds of the Happy Birthday song while scrubbing their hands or brushing their teeth – it works like a charm!
6. Looking people in the eye, respectful communication
The key to respectful and concise communication is looking the other person in the eye. This might be hard when they’re only 3.5 feet tall, but it’s something they can try to do early on. Proper communication is something we all have to learn and live with our entire lives, which makes it just as important in a kindergartner’s life.
7. Share – everything!
Ever hear the saying “sharing is caring”? Sharing is a huge part of Kindergarten and also a huge part of just being a kid. Teach your child to share even simple things like a toy car or their snacks at lunch. This shows others you really care!
8. Be empathetic
Teaching them what empathy means is a big part of raising the best humans. It really is a simple thing to teach; have them hold the door open for someone, help carry something, and show that they always have a helping hand to assist when needed.
9. Being patient
I know my child tends to have a big problem with ants in his pants and not reacting very well in certain situations where he isn’t necessarily getting his way, or we’re doing a task he may not really like, and it’s taking longer than he wants it to. Teaching patience can be a tough feat, but you won’t regret it in the long run, and their Kindergarten teacher will thank you!
10. Last but not least – the golden rule.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. By far the most essential and undervalued manner taught to children every day. They will probably learn a lot about this in school, but there’s no harm instilling this in them before that first big day.
There are so many things that we parents worry about, and we’re always thinking about what we can do to make our children the best human beings they can be. There’s already so much pressure on us to do our best. But truthfully, children are the world’s best mimics. If you’re already using these essential manners and displaying those behaviors around them every day, they’ll pick up fast. So when all else fails, skip to number 10 and treat them the way you want to be treated, with manners.