Here are a few invaluable tips that will help your children behave well when they're out and about, visiting friends' homes, or reacting to other people.
It may feel tedious and mechanical, but if you work at it, these will become knee-jerk responses…
Top Tips for good social manners
Keep reminding them about their ps and qs. Drumming in the automatic 'please' and 'thank you' response is absolutely essential.
Insist that children write proper thank you letters (as soon as they're capable) for all presents. Supervise these letters and ensure that the child writes more than a perfunctory single sentence.
Get your child into the habit of asking permission before they help themselves to food, snacks or drinks or switch on the television.
If they follow these rules in your own house, the chances are that they will adhere to them when visiting friends' houses - other parents may find proprietorial rummaging in the fridge or channel-hopping rude and intrusive.
Help your child to find ways to control and contain anger. Tantrums are tolerated in toddlers, but uncontrolled displays of anger will not win your child any friends.
Initiate your children into the art of conversation. Sit down with them for a few minutes each day (alternatively at mealtimes) and ask them questions about their day, tell them an anecdote about your work, or discuss an item on the news…
If children become used to this kind of interchange, they will find that conversations with other adults come naturally, and you will be spared the embarrassment of the monosyllabic child, whose unwillingness to talk to your friends and relations is absolutely palpable.