As a parent or teacher, you’re responsible for encouraging good manners. The most effective way to teach manners is through Montessori grace and courtesy lessons (see below). A variety of approaches can reinforce manners lessons, though. My 3-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, and I have had fun focusing on manners with the 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge and now with the Kind Words Challenge with the Kindness Elves.
Another helpful technique is simply sharing books about manners with preschoolers. Today I’m telling about some of my favorite manners books for preschoolers.
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How to Teach Manners to Preschoolers
The best way to teach manners to preschoolers is by demonstrating an etiquette technique and giving your child plenty of opportunities for practice. You’ll find a short intro in my post at Living Montessori Now on “How to Teach Your Preschooler Manners Using Montessori Principles.”
I have a book with ideas of how to teach manners to 2-12 year olds plus ideas of the basic manners that are needed before your child is 12 years old. You’ll find lots of information in my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy.
The Best Books about Manners for Preschoolers
I like Amazon’s “Look Inside the Book” feature as a way of getting a good idea of the book’s writing and photographs or illustrations before buying. I don’t always like books just as they’re written. If there’s something in a particular book that I don’t like, I simply omit that part or reword it.
Many of these are available through Book Depository with free worldwide delivery. Just search for any books you’re interested in.
Many of these books aren’t Montessori-style books that use photographs or realistic images. For children who have difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality, you’ll want to stay with realistic books about manners. For most preschoolers, though, the silly books or books with unrealistic but endearing characters make manners lessons especially memorable.
Excuse Me: A Little Book of Manners (Lift-the-Flap Book) by Karen Katz is a sweet Montessori-style book for toddlers and young preschoolers. My 3-year-old granddaughter still loves this book. It helps young children think about the important words they need to learn to have good manners. The book is recommended for ages 2-5, but I think it’s best for ages 2-4.
Curious George Says Thank You has Margret and H.A. Rey’s Curious George, but it’s written by Emily Flaschner Meyer and Julie M. Bartynski and illustrated in the style of H. A. Rey by Anna Grossnickle Hines. The book is recommended for ages 4-7, but I think most preschoolers will love it. Young children often identify with Curious George. This book has a positive message about the importance of saying thank you.
Like Curious George, Clifford, the Big Red Dog, is a lovable children’s book character who’s been around for years. My now-adult children loved the Clifford books, and I still have the series. Clifford’s Manners by Norman Bridwell isn’t an elaborate story, but it clearly emphasizes a number of etiquette techniques and the importance of good manners.
Note: Even though the Berenstain Bears books were loved by my kids, The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners isn’t one of my favorites. I just feel the negative behaviors might make more of an impression than the good manners in the book; I don’t like penalties for forgetting manners; and I didn’t like how the dad is portrayed in the book.
May I Please Have a Cookie? (Scholastic Reader, Level 1) by Jennifer Morris is for preschoolers in general and an easy reader for beginning readers. It’s definitely silly and unrealistic, but it emphasizes the importance of saying please in a fun way.
Manners by Aliki is recommended for ages 4-8. The pages are rather busy with many different concepts being reinforced, so it’s best for older preschoolers. This is a good book for taking the time to discuss manners concepts with your child. This is another book I had from when my kids were little.
I love the silliness of Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller. The book is recommended for ages 4-8. I recommend it for older preschoolers through early elementary because of the busy pages and humor that could be above the heads of younger children. It’s a fun book that wasn’t around yet when my kids were little.
I think Grace and Courtesy: a picture guide for children and adults by Alicia Olson is great for Montessori classrooms and parents who have a child attending a Montessori school. Each page has a an illustration of a child or children demonstrating an important grace and courtesy rule in the Montessori classroom. The book is designed to stand up on a shelf like an easel. I purchased this book recently for Zoey, who started attending a Montessori school last fall. I like to set it up on one of her shelves, changing the picture shown to remind her about rules that are important in the Montessori classroom.
Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin, M.A., recommended for ages 4-7, isn’t about manners specifically, but it’s a great book for showing why we use good manners. This is considered a “prequel” to the bucket-filling book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” This is a wonderful concept for teaching children that being kind to others helps bring happiness to both others and themselves. Bucket filling is an abstract concept that will take some children awhile to understand. The exact age to introduce it is best individualized according to the child’s developmental level.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud, recommended for ages 4-9, is the main bucket-filling book. It’s a lovely story and the inspiration behind many character education programs in schools today.
You can see lots of free bucket-filling resources in my post here at Bits of Positivity: “Free Bucket-Filling Videos for Character Education.”
More Manners Resources Here at Bits of Positivity
You’ll find lots of manners songs in my “Free Manners Songs for Home or Classroom.”
Manners printables can be very helpful. Check out my roundup post with “20+ Free Printable Manners Cards, Booklets, Charts and Games.”
Posts about Taking Turns and Sharing (related to good manners)
In this post at Living Montessori Now, you’ll find Montessori ideas about taking turns and working together as well as a YouTube video showing how you can demonstrate taking turns and working together with young children.
In my post here at Bits of Positivity, you’ll find lots of videos with songs about taking turns and sharing. While these aren’t all Montessori-style videos, the catchy songs encourage young children to take turns and share when they can.
I also have a post at Living Montessori Now with the best children’s books about taking turns and sharing.
Does your child have a favorite book about manners?
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