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Teaching children good manners

Little boy sulking
Teaching children good manners and giving them plenty of positive encouragement can help children manage their behaviour. Read on to find out how.

The most valuable thing you can do to help manage your child’s behaviour is to explain to them how you expect them to behave. And the way to do this is not simply to say, ‘behave properly’ but to actually explain what they can and can’t do.

Crouch down until you are eye to eye with them and explain where you are going and how you expect them to behave. For example, tell them they will make you terribly proud and happy by walking with you, there will be no running around, no shouting and no climbing on furniture.

Ask if they understand. Getting children to agree is a big step in their appreciation of what is expected of them. If you tell your child, ‘I know you’re going to run off and be naughty,’ they invariably will. Children will behave to expectations.

When you are out and they are doing as you asked, remember to praise and compliment them on their great behaviour.

Why do children misbehave?

Children play up for several reasons:

  1. Attention – they get more attention from their parents when they are naughty than when they are good, even if it’s not the sort of attention they would prefer.
  2. Boredom – this is especially the case when they’re trailing around after Mum or Dad who are shopping and picking up and looking at things and all the time telling their children, “Don’t touch anything.”
  3. Overtiredness. Prevention is better than cure so when possible (and it’s not always), time your outings to when they are well rested
  4. Lack of confidence – children will often act in a silly way if they feel intimidated by a situation or their surroundings. Explaining what is going to happen or how they should behave will give them the confidence to behave correctly.
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