While it can sometimes be a chore to constantly remind kids to say “please” and “thank you,” it appears it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Studies prove children who are taught “manners” are more successful in school, work and life. It might not be immediately clear how good manners help, but the long-term results show a real difference.
Manners reach beyond social niceties when it comes to young children. It’s called social-behavioral readiness and it has a huge impact on the success of children. Great Start defines social-emotional health as “a young child’s growing capacity to form close personal relationships with other people, especially parents and caregivers; express and manage emotions; and to explore new environments.”
Teaching children simple things like when to say “please” and “thank you,” how to apologize when you’ve hurt someone, or the importance of taking turns, is the first step in building their awareness of both their own behavior and the way it impacts others.
Studies continue to show a child’s ability to interact in a socially appropriate way directly correlates with their future success. A 2016 Johns Hopkins’ study confirms kindergarten students who weren’t socially and behaviorally “ready” for school suffered long-term effects:
- Up to 80% more likely to be retained in their grade
- Up to 80% more likely to receive services and supports through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan geared toward children with disabilities
- Up to seven times more likely to be suspended or expelled at least once
The American Public Health Association (APHA) also confirmed the importance of these behaviors in a long-term study where it tracked students over an almost 20-year period to determine how their social readiness impacted their lives.
“We found statistically significant associations between measured social-emotional skills in kindergarten and key young adult outcomes across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health,” the APHA reported.
Experts agree modeling good manners or socially appropriate behaviors is one of the best ways to impart those values to children. However, for parents worried about their children’s emotional readiness, the good news is there are many early intervention programs that have proven effective.
Social and emotional readiness is a significant factor in a child’s success in both school and life. Manners are an important part of building that awareness.