Back to School Etiquette for Kids

Help your kids learn how to make friends and impress their teachers with simple and easy manners.
Charlotte Today
Aimee Symington on Charlotte Today

My kids start school on Monday. My daughter will be a senior in high school so she's not too nervous, but my son on the other hand … he will be a high school freshman and is super nervous going to this new school because there will be so many new kids and teachers to meet.

As parents, we want to help our children navigate these tricky and stressful times like starting school, and so I thought I’d share some tips that I’m teaching mine. Some tips are written below, or you can even watch this TV segment with your kids for more information.

What Kids Can do to Make Friends

1. Have positive body language. This means when they walk into a group have them put away their phone, smile, and try to look happy. People are drawn to others who look happy and confident.

2. Introduce themselves to others. Meeting someone starts with an introduction or first conversation. Role play this with your kids so that they can feel more comfortable when they are at school. They can simply say, “Hi, I’m X”, and then start a conversation. There will be so many kids who are in the same boat and want to meet others.

3.  Make conversation. Some kids are great at talking with others, but some kids are not sure what to say. You can practice conversation skills with your kids by simply playing a game of catch. Get a ball (or something to throw) and start playing catch. But, when you throw the ball, ask a question of the other person. When you catch the ball, answer the question. Before you throw the ball again, ask a question. When you catch the ball answer the question and ask a new one. This can (and should) go on for a while to teach your kids how the art of really listening to someone, asking questions, giving more than a “yes/no” answer, and then carrying on a conversation. This is helpful to make friends, impress adults, and is a skill that is essential for a lifetime.

4. Share and be helpful. Tell your kids to be the friend they want to have. So, if they see someone struggling with something offer to help. If there is a kid sitting my himself at lunch ask him to join you. Be nice, share, and be respectful to others and it’s easy to make and keep friends.

What Kids Can do to Impress Their Teachers

1. Have a confident and polite greeting. Again, encourage your kids to greet adults with eye contact, a smile, and to give their name and say, “It’s nice to meet you.”

2. Show respect. Saying things like, “Yes, Ma’am/Sir” shows respect to their teacher. Also, listening to the teacher and following directions the first time will show their teacher respect and this is certainly what they want, and deserve.

3. Be helpful. Teaches are human and they will have a soft spot for those kids who help, volunteer to do things, and are generally nice kids!

Plus, tell your kids that there are other benefits from having nice manners at school, such as:

  • When others like you it makes getting work done much easier. Others are willing to help you and share with you when you do the same for them.
  • Teachers are more willing to help you.
  • Kids may have more opportunities in school like to be the one to do something special.
  • Kids may be rewarded for their manners, behaviors, attitude by the teacher or school.

It’s not easy to teach kids to feel comfortable and confident with these social skill and manners, but try to:

  • Teach them
  • Reinforce them
  • Role model them
  • Encourage them
  • Reward them

Hope all goes well for you and your family this school year. Personally, I’m looking forward to school starting again.