It's never too early to instill good manners in your young ones. The lessons you teach them at an early age stay with them for life, after all. "You can begin teaching etiquette to children as soon as they begin speaking," Beaumont Etiquette founder Myka Meier tells Town & Country. "Start by teaching them 'please and thank you' when they ask for something. When the child is old enough to sit at the dinner table (even in a high chair), you can start teaching dining etiquette." As a parent, making manners the expected norm from the get-go makes good etiquette second nature for your little ones rather than something they must learn and sometimes struggle with down the line. Approach it as a standard, not an exception, underscoring that the "true meaning of etiquette is always to show respect and kindness to everyone around you."
A large part of making the practice of manners fully integrated into your child's upbringing is having them experience life alongside adults. "I encourage family meals, so kids understand from an early age what manners are expected from them during a meal," says Meier. "I teach children that good manners simply means to be kind, thoughtful, and respectful at all times … all lessons that can start very young." She listed her top etiquette lessons, and we've highlighted our favorites below.
1. How to write a thank-you letter.
2. How to introduce yourself and others properly.
3. Use please, thank you, and excuse me every day.
4. Always cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
5. How to invite someone to join a group if they are alone.
Now discover the three eating rules French mothers teach their children.