Teaching our children manners is an important part of parenthood. It sets the tone for how they’ll behave when they are not in our presence, and will serve them well when interacting with others. When it comes to teaching our children to say “please” and “thank you”, it’s important we teach them to not only verbally communicate these phrases, but to show it as well. 

4 great parenting tips to teach a child to say "Please" and "Thank You."

1. Show it. Say it. Mean it.

Don’t hesitate to show your gratitude to those who’ve impacted your child’s life in a positive way. It could be a teacher that’s taken the time to teach your child to read, or a coach that gave your son some great tips during baseball season. Whatever the reason, teaching your children to show their gratitude with something as simple as a Thank You card or a bouquet of flowers will go far. 

2. Make a habit out of it.

It’s important you begin requests with “please” and follow it with a “thank you”. For example: If you want your child or spouse to clear the dishes from the table, you could say "please grab the dishes off the table". As soon as they’re done, be sure to tell them "Thank you for removing the dishes from the table." Hearing you say please and thank you in such a polite, reaffirming way will build their confidence and show them how to speak to others. You can even reward them each time using your family's chore system to really solidify the habit. 

3. Don’t take before asking.

Children — especially toddlers — like to grab things they see. When you notice your child reaching for something that does not belong to them, ask them "Did you ask if you could please play with that?" Once they’ve done so, thank them for using their manners. Before long, they’ll begin to understand how important it is to say please and thank you. 

4. Write it out.

Each day, write down something you’d like them to do. (Again, seeing you speak in such a polite, respectful way is important when teaching a child to do the same.) In the note, be sure to include "Thank you." For example: Good morning, Jessa — Will you please be sure to wash the dishes before I get home from work? Thank you for all you do to help. Love, Mom/Dad