The answer is a resounding “Yes.” You have probably heard some people tell you that it is impossible to teach manners to small children and that it is a waste of time. We have one advice for you: ignore those people. Teaching preschoolers can be taxing because they forget things very easily, but we assure you that it can be done and the effort is very rewarding.
In many cases, the things we want our children to learn can be taught by modeling it before them. And the earlier we begin to model this and teach them, the better – they’ll then have fewer problems continuing in these new character skills as they get older. If you have very young children, you may be curious about how to teach manners to preschoolers.
While it would be nice to be able to relegate all character training to preschool teachers, most preschoolers do better learning these skills from parents and family with support from their school. Of course, while you’re in the process of teaching your preschoolers to have manners, you may want to explain the reason they’re important. You know they’ll ask you “Why?”
What are some areas to concentrate on while teaching manners to preschoolers? It’s important for them to know how to meet and greet new people, using proper table manners, what type of behavior is acceptable while in public, and how to treat their friends properly.
It’s often said that more is caught than taught when it comes to young children. Model the behavior you expect from your preschooler. If you want them to be polite when talking with others, be sure you say “please” and “thank you.” It may seem silly to say because of their age, but you may also want to start saying “yes ma” and “no sir” so they’ll be more likely to use those words as well.
Pay attention to what your preschooler does and says. Tell them which words are acceptable for them to use when they’re frustrated by explaining that some words aren’t nice for little men and little ladies to say. If you see them do something you’d rather they didn’t do, correct them the first time and consistently correct them each time they do that same thing.
Say it again and again
You may feel like you sound like a broken record, “Use your inside voice, please,” “We don’t hit when we’re angry,” or whatever it is you say over and over throughout the day. When you have to correct a preschooler, don’t do so in front of other children. Take them aside or into a separate room so you can correct them in private.
When to Use Positive Reinforcement
Be careful not to give them positive reinforcement for bad behavior. You do, however, want to give sincere praise if they act appropriately by saying “I’m so proud of you for sharing with your sister.” Let them know that you notice and appreciate it when they use manners.
What about table manners? How do you teach preschoolers not to make a mess while eating? Again, it’s a matter of demonstrating the proper way to eat and guiding them to follow suit. Explain to them that throwing food isn’t allowed. You can also let them know when they can use a fork and when it’s okay to use their fingers. Be prepared to repeat yourself, but don’t despair; they will learn.
Parents want their children to learn to be polite, not interrupt when others are talking, and keep their hands to themselves. You can use these ideas of how to teach manners to preschoolers so your family is better prepared when a preschooler begins to act up.