Girls and manners! You know the old poem, “sugar and spice and everything nice”. What happened to the sweet-old days? Girls need to know their manners just as much as boys do. Children are not born with manners, whether good our bad, but taught them as they are aging through their baby, toddler and adolescent years. Good manners begin and end with common courtesy, however, if we don’t teach our children these essential life skills, then our future generations could be in trouble. We already see it today, the rantings and rages of young women trying to make a point, without any avail due to their unbecoming courtesies, behavior and words.
As the novelist Henry James once said “Three things in human life are important: No. 1: Be Kind. No. 2: Be Kind. No. 3: Be Kind”
It’s up to us to teach our lovely little ladies to be kind!Three things in human life are important: No. 1: Be Kind. No. 2: Be Kind. No. 3: Be Kind - Henry James Click To Tweet
Things to remember when teaching manners:
- You are the example.
- Be generous with compliments.
- Be clear about what you expect.
- Words can hurt, they are like weapons.
- Listen to your child and hear them.
10 Manners All Girls Should Know
1. Saying “Please”, “Thank you” and “Excuse Me”
The first step to teach this, is for you to use it all the time, especially when talking to your children and talking to others in front of your children. Young girls want to be just like their mommies, and will emulate just about everything you do from putting on lipstick to using manners. When a child requests something (unless it’s an emergency), don’t honor the request until a “please” is used. “Milk” is a demand, “milk please” or “May I please have a cup of milk” is a request.
When a request is granted, your daughter should then respond with a “Thank you” and you in turn respond with “you’re welcome” with a smile or hug, or both! Material rewards aren’t always necessary, sometimes the best rewards are affirmations of a job well done. Just being noticed and validated.
The words “excuse me” should be used anytime your daughter bumps into someone or steps on some toes by accident, even a sibling or interrupting.
I firmly believe that children should not interrupt adults when they are talking, but sometimes it’s necessary. In that case, teach her to be polite and say “excuse me, mommy, I have to use the restroom now!” At the same time, don’t get so involved in a conversation that you forget that you have children to take care of and that need you still, all the time.
2. Yes Sir and Yes Ma’am
I have learned by living in the North and the South that these terms aren’t viewed the same. With that being said, I have come to the conclusion that using these terms really show and reflect respect to authority, and not only to people in authority, but even peers.
This needs to be taught with respect. When I lived up North, we would say Yes Ma’am in a sarcastic voice, then yes, slapped by our mothers for being so rude. Living in the South, I hear this term used with the utmost respect and it actually makes me feel that the younger person using this actually respects me.
Again, remember that children repeat, say and do what we do. If we use these terms they will learn to use them as well.
3. Introductions, Greetings and Goodbyes
First impressions count more than we would like to realize. Even if we are not to judge people, we still have an assessment of a person based on first time encounters.
Please remember, this manner will be especially tough for a shy introverted child and they will need extra encouragement. Even if your child is quiet and shy, they can still appear rude by keeping too quiet. I should know, my son does not like speaking up or talking.
To start, introduce your child by saying, “Kimmy, I’d like you to meet Mrs. Smith.” “Mrs. Smith, this is my daughter Kimmy.” If your daughter isn’t ready for hand-shaking yet, then a nice hello to Mrs. Smith will do.
During the introductions, it’s important to teach a girl to stand up straight, make eye-contact and speak clear and loud enough.
When the meeting is over, a simple “goodbye” or “It was nice to meet you Mrs. Smith” is in order. Sometimes even a “thank you for inviting me over” should be encouraged if it’s applicable.
4. Playing With Others
Learning how to interact with other children at a young age can be difficult for both the child and mom. Getting together at the playground or at a friends house will give your daughter plenty of opportunities to work on compromise, courtesy, respect and kindness to others.
Simply telling your child to “go play” isn’t enough direction in teaching your daughter how to play nice. No, we don’t need to do this every time they go play, but we are parenting, we are the ones that need to teach them how to someday become an adult that can function successfully out in “real” world. So even though these little tasks can seem daunting or over the top, the alternative is, well, you’ve seen it in the grocery store before.
Sharing toys will be a concept you will have to explain and even show to your daughter, probably multiple times. Teach them to treat other’s toys as their own, to take care of them and treat the toys with respect. Young children will need to learn to ask before just taking a toy away, and learn how to handle rejection as well.
If you are visiting a friends house, teach your daughter the “house rules”, no jumping on furniture, no eating in the living room, no running in the house, no sliding down the banister (all very tempting things!).
5. Dining In and Out
First of all, know that there will be a time that you don’t visit certain restaurants with small children. I know this is a huge inconvenience, but it’s only for a short time, and it shows great respect to others that are trying to enjoy a quiet evening, maybe for the first time in years. Don’t be offended that your small children aren’t wanted for a while in certain restaurants, just find the ones that they are welcomed in or get a babysitter.
With that being said, little girls can be squealy (and it’s so cute), but with that squealiness, comes ear-piercing shreaks. Teach them to use table voices. This is something you may have to practice at home. Have a “dinner-out” at home once a week. Set up dinner like you are visiting your favorite restaurant. This is a great way to practice up on dining etiquette. When your daughter passes the “dinner-out” test, then take her to restaurants that are kid-friendly, and continue to practice table manners. Don’t worry, they will fail, but in the processes of failing they will learn (just like we do) and will eventually be ready to eat out with you at your favorite restaurant.
6. Grooming & Keeping Clean
It’s funny how differing these manners can be between boys and girls. We don’t usually have to emphasize to girls so much on keeping clean, hair brushed and hands washed. Actually, sometimes we have to remind them that less is more. That true beauty is within, not in the amount of lip gloss and hair bows you use.
Some of the things we have to remind them of is keeping public bathrooms as clean as it was when they arrived (if it was even clean). They should not make a mess with the water by playing in it and they should throw way any paper products that they have used into the appropriate bin.
Most girls don’t need to be reminded to excuse herself if she needs to pass gas (either way), they are usually too embarrassed to do this in public (unlike the boys that like to publicize it), but if one slips, then a simple “excuse me” is enough.
Girls may need to be reminded to use a tissue or handkerchief for their sneezing or coughing, and if one isn’t available, cover her mouth with the inside of her elbow to keep germs off of her hands.
7. Good Sports-Woman-Ship
I don’t think anyone likes to lose or likes to be around a sore-winner or a sore-loser. Girls can really take this to a whole new level!
A young girl needs to learn not to gloat over a win or sulk over a loss. This can be achieved by teaching them to encourage the other players that lost by saying “thank you and good game” or “you played well, I really enjoyed our time together”. When losing, they should tell the winner “congratulations” and or “good game”.
She should not accuse other players of cheating, even if they are. If there is a true concern, ask her to talk to you about it instead. If it’s a recreational or competitive sports game, she will need to learn to respect those in authority in the game; coaches, parent helpers and referees.
She should never make fun of other players, no matter what happens. She should alway be encouraging to others or just keep quiet.
8. Staring and Differences
This can be a hard manner to work on. Children love staring at people and really notice all the little differences in each other. They are usually very verbal and loud when asking about those differences. I can remember my daughter asking some embarrassing questions about another person in front of that person, yikes! Of course, there is nothing wrong with noticing differences or even asking about them. But sometimes these questions are best asked in private.
Talking about possible differences in people, whether its a difference in race, ethnicity, hair color, birth mark, physical appearance altered by an accident (like a burn), clothing, piercings, tattoos, or just about anything, ahead of time at home can divert questions in public and embarrassing moments. Kids are curious, and are very interested on why others look different. It’s ok to notice and ask questions.
At a young age is the best time to explain these things and that no matter what’s on the outside of a person, what physical limitations, cars, houses they have, does not mean their differences are bad or wrong. We all are created different and have different lives, thankfully!
Explain to your daughter, when she’s someone that seems different, to not stare, and to ask quietly in your ear or later in the car or at home to explain what she has seen.
Remember kids are curious, but if we don’t teach them to accept people as they are, they can become judgmental and hateful towards people that are not the same as them.
9. Telephone Manners
Many girls have access to phones now and love talking on them! They may even grab your phone every time there is a call or text. If they are the one to answer your phone, then they will need to be responsible for answering it properly. Teach them to speak clearly and pleasantly. If you have a quiet child, like my son, teach them to speak up so others can hear them. Teach them when answering to say “Hello, this is Susie” or Hello, Susie speaking.” If it’s a house phone, then, “Hello, this is the Smith residence.” If they know who’s calling, then say, “Hello Mrs. Smith, this is Susie speaking”. There are a number of ways you can do this based on what information you want your child to share. Just establish this ahead of time so they know how to properly answer and greet someone on the phone.
10. Giving and Receiving
If you’re child’s Love Language is gifts, then you will have no problem teaching them about giving and receiving as they are over the moon to do either. However, they can get so excited about receiving a gift that they forget to say “thank you”.
Writing a thank you note is also a great manner to learn. And not an email or a text, but old-fashioned paper and pen!
Giving and receiving isn’t only about gifts, but teaching our girls to give and receive compliments is huge. I think receiving them can be harder than giving them. When they receive a compliment, tell them to say “thank you”, they don’t need to explain anything, just a simple “thank you”. Probably us moms have a harder time with this than young girls, but it started somewhere and we have to teach them they are worthy of receiving a compliment, just as you are!
~Do you have a daughter that is a pre-tween? Have you thought about Preparing Your Daughter For Puberty yet? This is something so crucial that is so easily overlooked. Check out this post and get your free printable too!~
If you like this post on Manner for Girls, check out the, 10 Manners Boys Should Know.
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