Studies have shown that children with good social skills are more successful in nearly every aspect of life! And what is manners but putting social skills into practice? As the famous etiquette queen, Emily Post, once said, “manners are common sense – a combination of generosity of spirit and specific know-how”.
The National Association of School Psychologists says that good social skills are critical to successful functioning in life. By teaching our kids manners and courtesy, we are providing the very foundations for good social skills which will aid in their success throughout life.
Often a person other people see as ‘charming’ is really just a person with good manners and practiced social skills! Teaching manners and courtesy will benefit your child in several important ways:
1. Children with good manners are more likeable and therefore more popular.
Knowing how to listen, wait their turn, be polite and know how to make conversation – children who have been taught these basic manners have a leg up in the popularity stakes. Children with manners are likeable so they have more friends, stronger relationships with peers and adults, including teachers. This in turn increases their confidence which in turn makes them more likeable! It’s a win-win cycle!
2. Children with good manners do better academically.
Researchers found that when they increased social skills, they saw significant increases in academic learning. It’s not that social skills made children smarter but that having better social skills made them more open to learning well. Most of the top 10 social skills needed by students to succeed, as listed by the university researchers, were basically the skills we give our children when we teach them manners: cooperation, listening, be nice to others, etc.
3. Children with good social skills are more resilient.
Put simply, resiliency refers to an ability to cope with adversity. Children with good social skills are more resilient because they have better relationships with peers and adults, better communication and conflict resolutions skills and possess a healthy sense of humour (in my opinion, a sign of good social skills in itself). Teaching good manners means your child will have the social network and communication skills to keep them emotionally centered to weather life’s many storms.
4. Kids with good social skills cope better under socially stressful circumstances.
Children with good social skills have been shown to do better in interviews and other socially stressful situations. This is, in no small part, because they have ‘practiced’ these situations to some degree many times before. They have usually been exposed to a variety of social situations and armed with the skills to cope with them. Formal dinners, work dos, parties, talking with older people, young people – the process of teaching children manners means providing the opportunity to practise their social skills many times before they leave school. The result is that these children approach socially stressful situations like job and university interviews with considerably more aplomb than their socially awkward peers. As competition for jobs and university spots is high, those students with good communication and interpersonal skills will outshine the others.
5. Good social skills are highly in demand in the workplace.
There has been a rise in social skills courses being taught in school in response to concerns from employers that young people are leaving school lacking social skills essential in the workplace. Skills that employers value, such as good communication, are skills many young people just don’t have these days. Too many kids are inarticulate, hesitant, awkward purely because they have not been taught the social niceties or given frequent enough opportunities to practice them.
Manners are, in essence, the social lubricant that enables people to fit in smoothly in any situation. Good manners arms children with a variety of communication skills, from handling introductions and making small talk to making others feel comfortable. It gives them social confidence. Knowing how to behave in any situation frees a person up to be themselves – the best version of themselves because they are not worrying about making a fool of themselves or putting a foot wrong.
Where do I start?
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