Most kids are pretty good about saying “please” and “thank you” (except at home of course) along with a few other niceties, but to them, that is where politeness ends.
Politeness is more than nice words and gestures. It is also about realizing someone’s situation and not making them feel out of place. It’s teaching your kids that if they are with friends and they have the money to buy a treat, but their friend does not, being polite means buying it and sharing it or not buying it at all. Very tough for most kids.
Also, children think everyone comes from here (wherever “here” happens to be for them). Remind them that something that is considered polite “here” may be rude where the other person comes from. Most adults don’t think of this one either.
My goal is to help students realize that being polite means taking others feelings into consideration. It also means realizing when their friends are not being polite toward them or others that they may not be a very good friend. And the easiest way to make new friends is being polite!