The Value of Teaching Children to Say The Magic Words

We sometimes forget the value of teaching children to say things like "please", "thank you" or "good morning". Let's take a moment to reflect on this.
The Value of Teaching Children to Say The Magic Words

Last update: 01 June, 2021

The value of saying “thank you” and of treating another person with respect, and remembering to use the word “please” when you ask for something are noble things worth teaching children.

It’s possible that you yourself are of a younger generation and your parents already taught you to respect other people. They may have taught you that it’s necessary to treat them with care so that you also will be treated the same in return. Teaching children these habits is essential so that on a daily basis they can set good examples. And so, they can also encourage more respectful societal behaviors that make tomorrow better for all of us.

The formula for creating a more complete tomorrow involves details like these. Believe it or not, small gestures create entire universes. We invite you to reflect on this below.

The power of saying “thanks” is something worth teaching children

Saying things like “thank you,” “good morning” and “please” when you ask for something is more than just an act of courtesy.

In fact, it’s a way to get your children to think outside the box. It may also help them move away from their early childhood egocentrism to recognize other people and their needs.

The moral development of children

A mother talking with her young daughter.

One of the most well-known authors when it comes to the moral development of children is without a doubt, Lawrence Kohlberg. He famously said that there are countless differences from one child to another, even between siblings, but they usually follow the same pattern of development regarding awareness, being respectful, and recognizing others.

  • During early childhood, between two and five years of age, the child is governed only by their rewards and punishments. They understand that they must obey the rules imposed upon them in order to gain affection and avoid scolding or punishment.
  • Moving into the second phase of childhood the golden age begins. Between the ages of six and nine, that individualistic egocentrism gradually subsides.
  • By the time they are eight to ten, the child is able to understand the concept of the common good and that respecting others results in receiving respect themselves. It’s common that at this age they will act out in defense of their friends and siblings. This is when they become aware of what is more than just themselves as individuals.
  • Gradually they’ll reach adolescence with a kind of critical “self-righteousness,” considering certain things as disrespectful or unfair.

Courtesies that make it easier to connect with the world

When someone offers a four-year-old child a gift, you usually hear the parents say something like, “What do you say?” To this, the child, almost reluctantly or quietly, will respond: “Thank you.”

It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it: There will come a time when it not only becomes automatic, but they realize what it means.

When they say “please” for something in class, they might find that their peer offers it to them with a smile. In turn, when they say “thank you,” the other child will respond with “you’re welcome”. All of this fosters powerful connections that are based on positive emotions.

The transition between thanking someone out of compulsion to spontaneous and willing behavior is a wonderful process that will forever alter their life. Positive gestures provide warmth, and when you treat others with respect it makes things easier.

The power of a respectful upbringing

A mother and her young daughter sitting on the porch.

This interesting idea emphasizes the need to foster a child’s natural adaptation to their environment. It also encourages empathy and emotional bonds that will allow them to better understand the world around them, other people, and themselves. Respectful parenting means that you encourage a healthy attachment between parent and child with physical closeness, hugs, positive words, and continuous communication.

Under these keys, education is based on positive reinforcement. Actions such as saying thank you, asking please, being patient, and accepting the rhythm and timing of each child when acquiring knowledge are elements present in this model.

We recommend you also read: The Signs of a Spoiled Rotten Child

The Value of Teaching Children These Simple Details

All in all, when children discover what they gain from behaving with courtesy and respect, they incorporate such acts into their social behavior seamlessly.

If we as educators keep this in mind and pass it on as early as possible, the benefit to future generations will be a continuing legacy.

Do you remember to use the magic expressions of “please”, “thank you” or “good morning”?

So, when your child learns that saying “good morning,” asking for things with the word “please,” and thanking others provides positive reinforcement, they’ll never stop doing it.

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