How to Teach Your Child to be Polite - The Magic Words

It’s driving you crazy reminding them to ‘say please!’ but what else can you do? Here's how other parents approach the thorny subject of teaching your child to be polite.

When kids forget to be polite, here are some tips from parents for reminding them!


Softly softly…

“I don’t force my kids to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. They do spontaneously most of the time but if they forget I think it’s wrong to get them to say something they don’t mean. Instead I repeat what I’d prefer them to say, so ‘water please’. It’ll sink in eventually.”
Kerry, Mum to John, 5, and Adie, 3

Excuse me?

“I tried reminding my kids constantly but just repeating it all the time didn’t seem to be working – plus it was making me mad! Now, until they say ‘please’, I act like I haven’t heard the request and if I’m expecting a ‘thank you’ I just stand and wait for one until they remember what I’m there for!”
Lisa, Mum to two kids, aged 8 and 4

Make it fun…

We have two ways to encourage the kids to mind their manners when it seems like they’re forgetting to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. At first we had a reward chart just for this, but it was difficult to remember to add the stars if the kids remembered their manners when we were out and about. So then we invented ‘P & Q spotting’, and the person (could be Mum and Dad, too!) who’d said the most (genuine!) pleases and thank yous by the end of the day won some sweets! It works a treat!
Jim, dad to Sam, 5, and Martha, 2

Manners to ransom!

“Just getting at the kids to ‘say please’ wasn’t working – they’d just repeat it mechanically after me and I felt like they didn’t mean it at all. So now if they don’t say please, I’ve taught them that I’ll clear my throat once to remind them, and if they still don’t remember, they won’t get what they’re asking for for ten minutes. It might seem harsh but it worked so well I only had to do it for a couple of weeks!”
Gail, Mum to three kids, all over 6

 What's your secret?

How do you help your kids remember their manners? Share your story on the Official Supernanny Facebook page

Find out more