5 Manners All Children Should Know

Grandfather and grandson exchanging special handshake outdoors
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While it takes time and effort to teach your child good old fashioned manners, the payoff will be worth it once you hear a friend or family member exclaim, “Oh, your children are always so well behaved!”

Once your child has finally mastered regularly saying “please” and “thank you,” it’s time to move on to teaching some of the bigger and slightly more mature manners.

Here are five manners all children should know:

1. When to Say “Excuse Me”

After the “magic words” – i.e. please and thank you – the next big one for your child to master is “Excuse me.” Teach your child to say it when they’re trying to sneak by someone in a tight space, when they inadvertently bump into another person and, of course, if they make some sort of unpleasant bodily noise, such as belching.

2. How to Acknowledge Adults Correctly

It’s impolite for your child to address an adult by his or her first name unless and until he’s been instructed to do so by the adult himself. Not only should you teach your child to call adults by their proper times, such as Mr., Mrs. or Dr. and the last name, but also how to greet the adult by saying “Hello, Mr. Smith, how are you today?”

If your child is shy or forgets to say hello, offer a gentle reminder. Set a good example by introducing the adult properly the first time the child meets him.

3. How to Receive a Gift Graciously

Not all gifts hit the mark, but your child should learn how to accept a gift even if it’s something she already has, doesn’t want or doesn’t like.

Prevent your child from displaying an ungrateful attitude by coaching her to simply say, “Thank you.”

If she wants to add more commentary, suggest that she finds something positive about the gift, such as its color. It might be cliché, but “It’s the thought that counts” is an important lesson to learn.

Along the same line, encourage your child to write a thank-you note promptly after receiving a gift. If she’s too little for extensive writing, jot down the note for her, but have her add her name at the bottom.

4. How to Be a Good Guest

Children get comfortable at other people’s homes a lot faster than adults do, so they often start treating friends’ or family members’ homes like it’s their own pretty quickly. That means running through the halls, going in any room he wants or raiding the fridge for a snack.

Being a good guest means respecting other’s spaces and belongings, waiting for permission before wandering through the house and politely requesting a snack or beverage rather than helping yourself. Additionally, offering to clean up after a meal or play session should be the status quo. Teach your child that different homes have different household rules and it’s important to follow other people’s rules when you’re in their homes.

5. How to Avoid Interrupting

It’s rude to jump into the middle of an adult conversation to ask a question or to offer an unsolicited opinion. Yet, many children lack patience and impulse control, so they can’t resist jumping in. Other children, just don’t realize that what they want to tell you isn’t the most important thing in the world.

Whether you’re teaching her to not interrupt when you’re on the phone, or you’re insisting she not interject in your face-to-face conversations, tell her she can give you a sign that indicates she has something to say, such as placing her hand on your knee. Squeeze her hand so she knows that you’ve noticed it, and then praise her for not interrupting.

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