Why You Should Teach Your Child Greeting Etiquette

Making friends in the Children's Home

“Hi, my name is Owen” He confidently extended his hand to a man that was more than twice his size.

That was my son, introducing himself to his dad’s co-worker. We were at a family picnic, sponsored by my husband’s employer. We talked to our kids before the event, making them aware that there was going to be a lot of people they didn’t know. We prepared them because we didn’t want them to feel scared or intimidated or hide behind Mommy or Daddy when someone wanted to meet them.

I understand that personalities will differ. I have four children, and I can tell you that within the same social situation, they all react differently. However, I desire for them all to be equipped to handle the most basic of all social interactions: the introduction and greeting.

Why should children learn how to introduce themselves?

It teaches them proper etiquette in conversations.

“Hello.” “Pleased to meet you.” A smile. A handshake. Eye contact. These seemingly trivial actions can determine if a conversation will continue or not. If I greeted someone and they barely lift their eyes from their smart phone and mumble an incoherent “Hey”, I’m likely to move on to the next conversation.

It gives them an opportunity to connect with others.

If you are a blogger, you know the importance of connecting with others. Though you may not have a future blogger in your hands, your child will discover the necessity and joy of interpersonal relationships. Most of those relationships begin with an introduction.

It gives them the confidence to speak to adults.

I remember explaining to one of my kids about talking to a trusted adult if ever they were lost, like at the grocery store. This child protested, “But, Mommy, I think I’m too shy.” There’s going to be times when you won’t be around to help your child, so they need to know how to talk to another adult if a certain situation requires it.


It develops their language and communication skills.

Before children even start uttering words and putting them into simple sentences, they are like sponges, soaking up the language that is happening around them. When they are young, they are usually not hindered by social fears. Get to them when they are ready and willing. Do some role play at home. To them, it may seem like a fun game, but more than that, it will benefit their language development.

What has worked for you in training your child how to handle social interaction?


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12 thoughts on “Why You Should Teach Your Child Greeting Etiquette

  1. Wow, I love how confident he is! My daughter usually hides behind my legs and my son grins a big smile, but as they grow in age I would love for them to have the confidence to be so bold and friendly!

    1. Yes, I think it gets better when they’re older (my son is 9), but training starts when they’re young. I could see a marked difference with how my 5-year-old did with meeting people at that company picnic. He was definitely more shy.

    1. When I’m the recipient of the handshake and greeting from a child, I’m always pleasantly surprised. And I’ve noticed that children, who aren’t intimidated to engage in a conversation with adults, tend to be very well-developed in their language skills.

    1. Depends on personality too. Some kids may have a harder time because they’re naturally on the quiet side … that’s my 5-year-old. That’s why a simple greeting is a good start. If they can say “hello” instead of giving a blank stare, after someone greets them, then “yay!”

  2. My sons are much better at this now that they are teenagers. They were great when they were young, but then each went through an awkward stage when this was more difficult. I didn’t push it; because my mother had done this with me and it made me feel even more awkward. The best model is a parent. In the long run, kids tend to do what their parents do. Great post!

    1. Good point about not pushing it with your kids! When they feel forced in the actual situation, it leads to embarrassment for the child and makes it uncomfortable for everyone else around. There were as a time when this happened to me, and I threw up because of the nervousness. How’s that for awkward?

  3. Helpful tips for sure! My oldest is 4 and tends to be more shy but we are working on developing these skills. I definitely think that being able and confident to act appropriately in social situations is important.

    1. Yeah, we’re helping our 5-year-old overcome the shyness too. He’s also on the quiet side, so I know it’s a bit harder for him, but I could tell he’s growing in this area.

  4. We’re fortunate to have a weekly greeting time at our church – so the children get their fair share of practice shaking hands, making eye contact (one we really stress), and exchanging greetings, or introducing themselves…it is important, and such a good skill to learn early.

    1. That’s so great that your kids have a regular time to put into practice those skills! Thanks for coming to my blog! I just came back from looking at some of your posts. I love the activity ideas you share! I’ll follow you on bloglovin’

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