Learning manners and politeness

We make friends and become part of the community by being polite.  Greetings are often the first social communication a baby learns.   Consider the following example: 

  • When you go to the crib to get your baby up in the morning, you often get a big smile.
  • You probably respond with a smile and say, "Good morning," or "Hi there."
  • You use your baby's name. Then, you pick your baby up.

Model saying "Hello" and "Good-bye"

Babies learn from our models.  If we use similar, consistent greetings every day, they become part of a greeting routine.

  1. You greet other people when they arrive.
  2. Your baby watches that routine with others, too.
  3. As your baby becomes a little older, you can encourage greeting exchanges with others.

Hello and Greetings

Greetings are important as a social tool. Our babies who are deaf and hard of hearing need to be aware that they should greet others, too.

  • We start our communications with "Hi, how are you?"
  • We use people's names when we greet them.

Saying Goodbye

Even before your baby is ready to say "Hi," or "Thank you," he will be able to wave "Bye-bye." Saying goodbye is another early social routine that babies learn.

  • You will find yourselves saying, "Say bye-bye to Grandma (or Aunt Nancy, or your teacher)."
  • The gesture that we use to say goodbye is one that any baby can see and copy.

Model saying "Thank you" and "I'm sorry"

Two other early kinds of polite conversation are appreciation and apology. Learning "Thank you" and "Excuse me," or "I'm sorry," is very much like learning to greet people.

Your baby sees or hears you, learns from watching interactions, and learns from seeing you communicate with other people. You want to be sure that your baby can connect what you are saying with what is happening at the time. This makes the reasons for using social language clear.

Social language has a lot to do with how people respond to us in the community.

  • Keep your baby aware of your social language and use social routines.
  • Make sure that you use your chosen communication approach (​sign, speech or cues) so that your baby understands as much as possible about what is happening.