Child, Family, Family Life, Parenting

Do children have to be polite?

Do children have to be polite

Parents show their children how to behave properly – rules of conduct: At what age can children be expected to be polite? Is politeness just empty phrases? How is it expressed and how can children learn it?

Being polite means respect

Children sometimes express themselves thoughtlessly and not always politely. As well as learning the language, they need to learn different manners. This includes, for example, not simply taking the toy away from another child, saying thank you for something, apologizing for a mistake.This requires a certain level of social skills. One’s own needs are not always in the foreground; those of other people must also be recognised. Harmonious coexistence is based on compromises.

Children want to be accepted for who they are and to be treated kindly. They should have the same attitude towards other people. However, this is a learning process.

manners in the parental home

Occasionally, even in adults, emotions boil over or they react angrily to stress. That’s human, children can have this experience too. However, this does not exclude a fundamentally respectful interaction with one another. Parents show their children how this works.

The morning ideally begins with a friendly greeting, a thank you expresses appreciation, a request sounds less like a demand and an apology indicates an admission of a mistake.

Sit at the table the way you expect your child to sit, and don’t talk with your mouth full . Express criticism calmly and factually, avoid accusations.

The manners continue outside of one’s own four walls. The neighbors are greeted, the cashier is thanked for the change, and if your child has destroyed someone else’s sandcastle, you go together and apologize. Dispose of rubbish in the bins provided instead of throwing it carelessly on the street. You show your child how it works.

Your child will not fail to notice whether polite remarks are just meaningless phrases. It not only records the words, but also captures the gestures and facial expressions. A grumpy mumbled greeting without eye contact is hardly convincing. However, if the face expresses friendliness and openness, honesty is hidden behind it.

If you accidentally knocked over your child’s block tower while vacuuming, acknowledge your mishap with an apology. If you offer your child to rebuild the tower together, it is reparation and a sign of your sincere regret.

If your child is familiar with such manners, it will not be difficult for him to acquire them himself, to develop a healthy respect for others and to express it through kind words and gestures. Such a child appears polite to outsiders.


The child does not master the manners?

Your child silently accepts a gift and does not say thank you. Even the greeting at an encounter does not come from the lips. It’s just as far from an apology if it broke something.

There can be different reasons. Young children are still finding their place in life and among other people. Admitting a mistake or misadventure erodes self-esteem and the neighbor may just be unsympathetic. Instead of a friendly worded request, a child may express a specific “I want…” – after all, it wants something. Some children are just too shy to show politeness.

Do not force your child to do this: This can provoke defiance in a child and it is definitely unfriendly, a reticent child is more likely to feel overwhelmed and withdraw.

Instead, you can naturally show how it’s done. Take on the task of saying thank you when your child struggles. For example, you can express that you and your child are very happy about the gift . The “we” includes your child, it does not feel pressured by your initiative. It may not be long before your child joins in the thanksgiving.

At home, in the absence of strangers, you can calmly explain what it means to be polite, when to say thank you, and that apologies are not a self-deprecation.

Even a three-year-old child can already understand that different rules of conduct are an expression of respectful interaction with one another and that it reaps recognition by adhering to them. Patience is required until it works in practice.

Swear words are great

It doesn’t take long for your child to expand their vocabulary to include unwelcome terms. Their meaning is not always clear. Your child does not yet know that other people can feel hurt by various statements.

If you forbid unwanted expressions, that makes them interesting. Point out to your child what the words can do – they certainly don’t want to be called names either.


Of course, there are children who actually behave inappropriately, even though they know that they are crossing boundaries. If another child’s property is vandalized or physical violence occurs, consistent action is required. The child must feel that their behavior has consequences and will not be tolerated.


  • the most informal learning process possible
  • Parents act as role models
  • expression of respect
  • Acceptance of other people’s limitations


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