As a children’s manners teacher of eight years and mother of three sons, ages 12, 10 and 8, I have learned a lot over the years on how to teach your children good manners.

I did a lot of guesswork in the beginning on how to effectively teach my own children manners, let alone other people’s children in formal classes. Now that my children are older, I can testify that I constantly get compliments on their manners.

Here is a guide on how to teach your children good manners in an effective way.

You do not have to be a schoolteacher to know that children are more receptive to learning when you make something fun. If you are a reserved person like I am and are uncomfortable acting like a goof ball in front of your kids that is okay. 

Making something fun does not mean that you have to dress up like a clown and entertain your children. You can do it in other ways.  What I have found is tapping into their interests will make anything fun.

How To Teach Your Children Good MannersHere is a great tip on how to teach your children good manners by using his or her favorite sports hero. 

My sons are all about sports 24/7.  Watching sports, playing sports, and talking about sports. 

Several years ago my oldest son was watching Wimbledon on television.  One of the Williams sisters beat the other one in the finals. The Williams sister who won boasted how great she was, and even joked about how their family was rooting for her. 

The sister who lost basically had her head in a towel and was crying, while the winning sister went on and on. 

The next day Rafael Nadel beat Roger Fedderer, and was so humble he just about apologized for beating him.  The contrast of these two tennis matches was such perfect examples of really bad and really great sportsmanship and manners. 

I was thrilled to make the matches a teachable moment for my son. It was a discussion that peaked his attention because I was talking about one of his interests. Constantly look for these types of moments.

Another fun example of how to teach your children good manners using your child’s interests is for any child who loves to play princess.  Most little girls go through a princess phase, and they love to pretend to be a princess, dress up like a princess, and have princess parties.

Next time your child is dressed up like a princess, ask her how princesses meet and greet people. Put out your hand and remind her how to shake hands. Tell her princesses use good eye contact, a clear and confident voice, and have a firm handshake.

You can use these same kinds of themes with table manners. If you are not sitting down at a table for dinner, then now is the time to start. Not only is this how to teach your children good manners you can teach them how to set the table, use utensils, and how to always pass the salt and pepper together, but also you teach them life lessons. 

Sound boring to your children?  What if they could pretend to be Princess Catherine, Peyton Manning, or Batman during the meal?  You could start by asking Princess Catherine to set the table fit for a Royalty, and then talk about sophisticated things during the meal.

As you are going along with dinner, ask your sports fan if Peyton Manning would use his throwing arm to pass a roll to Eli across the table. Tell him absolutely not, so he should not pass the bread that way to his brother.  Instead he should pass the whole roll basket like a gentleman.

There are also tools and materials available from other people on how to teach your children good manners.

A lot of popular characters such as Madeline, The Bernstain Bears and Barbie have DVDs and books out about manners, as well as The Mrs. McVeigh’s Magnificent Manners Show DVD, with the hilarious Professor “Mannered.”

I have used all of these DVDs in my classes, and they not only keep children’s interest, but also the children use the good manners that they learn from their favorite characters.

If your child is interested in sports, princesses, superheroes, or dinosaurs, use his favorite interests and heroes (real or pretend) as good examples of how to have good manners.

It works in any situation that you are trying to teach them, from meeting and greeting, to how to set a table. Constantly look for opportunities to bring up how to use good manners, and you will make it a part of your child’s everyday life.

Lastly, do not forget to use your good manners, because you are your child’s biggest hero.  Acting and being like you is what they are truly interested in the most.

Elise McVeighElise McVeigh, children’s etiquette expert is the mother of three children whom she raises with her husband in Dallas. 

She is the Etiquette Expert for Barbie Princess Charm School DVD, as well as a contributor to, and a weekly columnist for The Dallas Morning News Neighborsgo. 

Her company, Mrs. McVeigh’s Manners gives seminars and classes to moms and children. They also have a line of manners products, including The Mrs. McVeigh’s Magnificent Manners Show DVD. 

McVeigh has a lot of visibility in the media, including interviews for USA Today, Women’s Day Magazine, Radio Disney, and dozens of television news shows across the country, including a recent 26 city Satellite Media Tour for Barbie Princess Charm School. 

McVeigh’s blog and website, MrsMcVeighsManners has a large following nationally, as well as internationally.  Elise McVeigh is an expert on how to teach your children good manners.