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How to teach children to greet and say goodbye politely but respecting what they feel

Greeting is one of the most important courtesies for people, and it is a nice gesture of recognition of the other, in addition to showing education.

It is perfectly understandable that as parents we want our children to always greet and say goodbye to everyone, and also in a polite way, but the truth is that for the little ones this may not make sense at first, because they do not see the need to do so. It is then our job to teach them.

But it is also important to keep in mind that when greeting or saying goodbye (although we can teach them), they must do so voluntarily, and never forcing the child into a situation that causes discomfort and discomfort. We tell you how to teach children to greet and say goodbye , always respecting what they feel.

“The courtesy that should govern our daily actions is based mainly on respect and understanding towards everyone”.


The importance of saying hello and goodbye

Learning to greet and say goodbye is of great social importance in interactions with others, which is why our children must learn to do so, always without pressure or obligation.

Through these gestures it is simpler to create a much more friendly and kind atmosphere with others, thus facilitating interactions with other people. This will be essential for them when they begin their schooling process.

How to teach children to say hello and goodbye

The process of learning to say hello and goodbye can be a bit complex for some parents, but the truth is that it does not have to be. With a little patience and a lot of love you will achieve it, and in less time than you think. During this stage, keep in mind the following recommendations:

offers alternatives

When we are teaching our children to greet or say goodbye, it is important to give them different options or alternatives. For example, family members or close friends often greet each other with a kiss and/or hug, but your child may not always feel comfortable doing it that way.

So, teach him that there is more than one way to say hello and goodbye , which can only be saying hello and goodbye, shaking hands, greeting with a kiss or a hug, etc. And ask him before any interaction how he would like to greet. Don’t force him to display affection that he doesn’t feel comfortable with.

Explain why it is positive to say hello

We must never forget to explain the reasons for what we should do to our children. It is not about forcing them to be cordial and greet or say goodbye, because for children (especially the smallest), these social conventions do not have the same meaning as for adults.

So it is important to explain to them that it is about being kind, respectful and polite, and that by greeting we are making others feel good . And that this is something positive, that it generates a good atmosphere between people, and that it is also an act of respect and recognition towards the other.

But if your child does not want to say hello despite what you explain, do not worry, it is normal for this to happen. Keep doing it and over time you will understand all this better.

be your example

For our children to learn to be polite, say hello, say goodbye, be kind, etc., the best we can do is act in a way that is consistent with what we expect them to do.

If we want our children to greet everywhere they go, we must do the same. You can start by practicing at home; every time you arrive say hello to everyone and when you leave say goodbye.

In this way the children learn that this is what is used to doing in these situations, and without realizing it they will be imitating it.


Sometimes your child may refuse to say hello, and that is a normal part of the learning process. It is important that you respect their decision not to greet someone, but you can always give them other options for greeting as explained above (shaking hands, saying hello, etc.).

This will not only help your child learn that saying hello is something nice (not obligatory), but it is also an excellent opportunity to show him that his emotions are valid and matter and therefore deserve to be respected.

Praise in public and correct in private

If your child has engaged in behavior that you don’t like or isn’t what you expected, please remain calm. Remember that the adult in the situation is you, and that you cannot get into a fight to get him to say hello or goodbye.

Avoid correcting or scolding him in front of other people , as this will only increase his discomfort and will end up associating the situation with something unpleasant. It can also damage your self-esteem. Thus, when he does not want to say hello, do not force him to do so, but when he is at home, explain to him why it is important that he say hello.

The importance of positive reinforcement

On the other hand, when he greets or says goodbye as he wishes (with a hug, kiss, hand, etc.), acknowledge that he has done very well. In this way, he will associate learning these social gestures with something positive and will be more likely to repeat it later.

“Good manners have a lot to do with emotions. To make them ring true, you have to feel them, not just show them.”

-Amy Vanderbilt-

Photos | Cover (Pexels)

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