5 Phrases that should be a part of every child’s vocabulary

Teach children to say please and sorry (Thinkstock)

Teach children to say please and sorry (Thinkstock)
If there is one thing that costs almost nothing, but is a great investment in your young one’s future, it’s manners. Yes, teaching kids good habits, behaviour, courtesy and how to present themselves in public is an important part of education. Your child comes across as a brat or a rude person not because he/she wants to, but because he/ she wasn’t taught that it was wrong to behave that way. If you are a new parent and are keen that your little one grows up to become a well-mannered youngster, then start with their vocabulary and teach them these four magic phrases from early on…


Many believe that using ‘please’ is a polished form of pleading or begging for something. But, has it ever occurred to you that it could be a simple way to just ask for things you want? Etiquette expert Shajida Rehman says, “Teach your kids where to use please and when. Also, the tone in which you say the word matters. Teach them the difference between saying ‘May I please play with your toys’ and ‘I want to play with your toys’.”

Thank You
An expression of gratitude, this is a magic phrase that must be taught to a child as young as two years. “Saying a simple ‘thank you’ will take you a long way in life. It’s basic etiquette and teaching them to say thanks for simple reasons like receiving gifts, taking favours from others, after having received help from friends or teachers, is important. I tell my daughter to mouth a ‘thank you’ to people irrespective of their relation with her or their stature. She now makes it a point to thank shopkeepers when they give her a product. She also happily thanks me after I serve her meals,” smiles Radhika Sharma, who runs a home creche. She adds, “Of course, children need role models to inspire them and I ensure to practice what I preach.”

It was nice meeting you
Greeting people with a smile and exchanging pleasantries is basic. Varisht Gautam, personality coach, says, “My three-year-old son would never look up or smile when we had guests at home. I initially thought he was shy, but when I spoke to him, I found out he didn’t know saying a ‘hi’ to them was important. Most children think greeting people is no big deal because adults anyway do it. But it’s basic courtesy and what they learn now will help them later in life. So, teach them different forms of greeting, including the importance of a firm handshake.”

Excuse me
If there is a phrase that can bail you out of any situation, it’s ‘excuse me’. Shajida says, “Bumped into someone? Or burped while dining with guests? Mouth an ‘excuse me’. Want to interrupt two people and ask for some snacks to munch on? Butt in with an ‘excuse me’. This is also an alternative to asking ‘what’ or requesting people to repeat themselves. What children learn now will go a long way in laying the foundation for their future. They need to know the importance of asking to be excused, and this seems like a good place to start.”

It’s important to say ‘sorry’, irrespective of how old or young you are. Krishna Kanvalkar, a child psychologist, says, “Children don’t realise they have done something wrong until they are about five. When they spit, fling things or break toys, and see you are angry, they just keep quiet or sulk. As they grow up, they see apologising as an easy way to get out of a sticky situation. So, before you teach them to say they are sorry, explain its worth.”