social etiquette

Encouraging Positive Interaction With Others

Children all progress very differently to each other, regardless of age or gender. They have their individual characters and temperaments that determine their behaviour toward others in different social settings. It is important to teach  your children that no matter which social setting they find themselves in, they must behave well.

Taking into account, of course, that each phase of growth and development in a child’s life brings change; some of which can be confusing, upsetting or tiring, we can help our children by setting realistic expectations.  Here are some tips to help in your crusade to bring out the very best behaviour in your children:

Start early and be consistent.

Many experts agree that setting reasonable expectations for your children from as early of an age as two will make the process easier on both parent and child. Young children naturally have a desire to please their parents and if you start early in setting an example and keeping your expectations consistent you will find that your child will internalise your expectations and will expect the same for themselves; effectively disciplining themselves. So, start young and be consistent. If you want to raise a child who knows how to sit at a dinner table and eat his/her meal without getting up, running around, being loud, etc., than from an early age you must consistently expect your child to sit at the table until he/she is excused.  If they get up, you put them back. If they raise their voice you stay consistent in expecting them to use their “inside” voices.

Practise makes perfect.

Practising at home the behaviour you expect for your children to display outside the home is the best way for them to learn your expectations. If children are allowed to scream and shout inside their home, why should they think they need to behave differently when at the library or on a train? Utilise your daily experiences at home to teach your children what you expect outside your home. For example, when you have a visitor come to your home take a moment to properly introduce your children to them. Give them the opportunity to practise shaking hands and greeting the individual. If your children are used to doing this at home, they won’t have a problem knowing how to do this when outside the home.

Stay positive.

Always praise your children’s positive behaviour and always expect the best from them. No matter how many times you have had to correct their behaviour before, each day is a new day and letting your children know you believe they are capable of achieving good behaviour will encourage them to practise good behaviour. For instance, before you leave the house remind them of your expectations and stay positive by telling them you know they will use their quiet voices when visiting the library today. Your children want to please you and they want to be noticed. Praising their good behaviour whenever possible will help them in their learning of what is good and what is not good social etiquette.

Remember to set realistic expectations for your children. Taking your three year old shopping when he should be napping just isn’t fair on him, or you. Plan ahead and take into account the time of day your young children will need quiet time away from others. And never give up! Your children will most likely need reminding and consistent positive reinforcement for a time before you will notice their ability to discern how to behave well on their own.

Next time we’ll be discussing the challenge of allowing our children to grow up. Sometimes it’s difficult to take a step back and let our children figure things out on their own, but it’s an essential part of maturing into the responsible, sensible young adults we want our children to grow into.

If you have any comments or questions on any of the topics covered in the N.E.C. blog or would like to learn more about our etiquette classes and coaching please contact us at

Until next time, have a great week!