Manners are important for so many reasons, and teaching them from a young age is imperative. In a world full of electronics, people’s noses in their phones, and instant gratification, manners seem to have fallen by the wayside. Our society puts more emphasis on making kids happy than on giving them the skills they will need later on in life. Parents are also overemphasizing scholastic skills over social development. However, Dr. Pier Massimo Forni, professor and co-founder of the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins says, “It’s crucial that children learn to connect civility with strength and determination rather than weakness. It is up to the adults in their lives to show them the competitive advantages of being known as trustworthy, considerate and kind. Nice guys finish first if they are also smart and poised. We are attracted by this kind of person. We are attracted by someone who is a good listener. We trust this person and we want to associate with this person.”
Who is responsible for this? It is the responsibility of every single adult in contact with a young person to pass on good manners and civil behavior. These adults include teachers, caregivers, and most importantly, parents.
Courtesy begins at home, and should be started at a young age. Manhattan-based etiquette expert and image consultant Samantha von Sperling agrees that “children should be taught during those formative years when they’re listening and learning to form speech. Infancy is not too early. If the parents are speaking politely all the time at home, they child will grow up with that standard.”
Manners are not just about please and thank you, but also learning how to politely refuse a playdate or food they don’t like in someone else’s house, not to stare at people with a disability or deformity, not to interrupt while you’re on the phone, how to respect their elders, how to apologize, and how to lose graciously. Manners suggest gratitude rather than entitlement, make a great first impression, and they are something that people will remember about you. Good manners will also make for a more pleasant, agreeable day with your children, and something you can be proud of. You can find great tips on how to teach manners on Pinterest,, and