Please note the following post is based on information published within my book THE SMART KIDS GUIDE TO EVERYTHING, a massive 340+ page book aimed at teaching kids everything they REALLY need to know in life (without the fluff).
TEACHING KIDS GOOD MANNERS – IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO TEACH YOUR CHILD GOOD MANNERS AND WOULD LOVE A GUIDE TO FOLLOW, THEN YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE!
SO WHY TALK ABOUT MANNERS?
Manners need to be discussed because a) manners are a beautiful thing and b) there seems to be a distinct decline in etiquette levels found in the younger generation today.
And that is such a shame, because there isn’t a nicer feeling in the world than when you are greeted warmly by another person or when someone takes the time to say thank you or behaves in a courteous manner.
SO WHAT ARE MANNERS?
Kids are usually offered the following simple explanation:
Manners are the way in which you behave towards others.
This explanation stems from the golden rule that all children in the olden days (stated tongue in cheek) were encouraged to abide by:
“Always do to others as you would wish them to do to you if you were in their place.”
If we want to be a little more elaborate however, manners are defined as a socially correct way of showing respect for other people’s feelings. It is very closely intertwined with etiquette, courtesy, politeness and consideration of other people’s feelings.
And yes, whether we like it or not, there is a customary code of conduct and polite behavior that is expected in our society.
But did your kids get that memo? Do they know the proper, polite way to behave?
Manners usually come down to respect.
It’s as simple as this:
GOOD MANNERS = RESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR
BAD MANNERS = DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR
But here’s the thing – kids aren’t naturally born with the ability to know the right way to behave. They usually learn good or bad manners as they are growing up in their family or observing how other people act in society.
If kids don’t see good manners regularly in action, then they don’t even KNOW that they are being rude when they don’t hold the door open for another person passing by or when they fail to properly thank someone for a gift.
LET ME REPEAT THAT FOR YOU AGAIN – MANNERS ARE A LEARNED BEHAVIOR
Except here’s a spanner in the works – a parent can have the most beautiful manners themselves and still raise a child who sometimes misses the mark when it comes to their general etiquette (um…I think we have all been there before!).
That’s because it takes TIME and CONSISTENCY to drum these lessons into your child. You need to pick up on it whenever they are falling short and steer them in the right direction (or at least every time you notice bad manners happening).
TO HELP YOU OUT I’M SHARING WITH YOU THE GUIDE TO MANNERS FROM MY BOOK THE SMART KIDS GUIDE TO EVERYTHING
Please read it with your child and encourage them to ask you questions if anything doesn’t make sense to them. Then practice, practice, practice these tips with them – because practice doesn’t just make perfect.
It encourages good actions that lead to good habits in the end.
Remember to keep these quotes in mind:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. William Thackeray.
Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit. Darren Hardy.
GUIDE TO MANNERS FOR KIDS
Your parents and teachers are probably always telling you to mind your manners. Sometimes this is easy enough. Other times you probably wonder what they even mean.
Here are some basic rules of good manners and correct etiquette:
– Knock on closed doors and wait to see if there is a response before entering.
-When you make a phone call introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling. For example: you can say “Is this a good time to speak?”
-Be appreciative and say “Thank You” for any gift you receive. You can even show your appreciation by writing a hand-written thank you note.
-Never use rude language in front of others. It only makes you look bad.
-Don’t call people mean names.
-Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak and ganging up on someone else is cruel.
-Sit properly. Even if a play or assembly is boring sit through quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.
-If you bump into somebody immediately say “excuse me”.
-Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
-Don’t pick your nose in public.
-Hold the door open for people. As you walk through a door look around to see if you can hold it open for someone else.
-If you come across a parent, teacher or neighbor working on something ask if you can help. If they say yes then help. You might learn something new.
-When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.
-Say hello and goodbye.
-Say please and thank you.
-When someone helps you say thank you.
-Be on time.
-Know how to make a call.
-Clean up after you make a mess.
-Look people in the eye when you speak.
-Use respect when talking to adults.
-Say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention.
-Wait your turn.
-Use kind words.
MANNERS AT MEALTIMES
-Wash your hands before and after every meal.
-Place a napkin on your lap.
-Sit up straight and keep your elbows off the table.
-Chew with your mouth closed.
-Don’t talk with your mouth full.
-Don’t slurp or smack your lips while eating.
-Wipe your mouth with your napkin (not your sleeve!)
-Lean over your plate.
-Use the right utensils (don’t eat with your hand).
-Offer to set the table.
-Learn to set the table appropriately.
-Don’t complain about the food.
-Take just the right size bites.
-Take up your dishes when finished eating.
-Say please and thank you at the dinner table.
-Never say bad things about the food.
-Never stuff your mouth full of food.
-DO whatever you can to help prepare.
-Say “excuse me” if you burp.
-Don’t talk loudly or interrupt when someone else is talking.
-Wait until everyone is served before starting to eat.
-If you have to sneeze, cough, blow your nose, or get something out of your teeth, go to the bathroom to do it.
-Don’t point out other people’s poor manners.
-If you have to leave the table during the meal say “excuse me”.
-Do not take more than you can eat.
-Pass the food from left to right.
-Don’t pick food up with your hands if you can use a fork.
-Eat small bites and swallow before taking another.
-Serve others before you serve yourself.
-Use your eating utensils properly. If you aren’t sure then ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.
-Keep a napkin on your lap. Use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.
-Don’t reach for things at a table. Ask to have them passed.
OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS TO REMEMBER
-Don’t comment on someone’s physical appearance unless you are giving a compliment.
-When someone asks you how you are doing, tell them then ask how they are doing.
-Write thank you notes for gifts you receive.
-Never use bad words.
-When you bump into someone say you are sorry.
-Offer help to those in need.
-Pick up after yourself, especially at someone else’s house.
-Use inside voice when you are indoors.
-Clear your plate from the table.
-Don’t scream outside when you are playing, unless it’s an emergency.
-Don’t argue with adults.
-When someone is talking to you, look at them.
-Wait your turn to talk.
-Put down your electronics when someone enters the room.
-Shake hands firmly.
-Let others finish before you speak.
-Say “yes, ma’am” and “yes sir” when talking to grownups.
-Greet people with a “hi” or “how are you?”
-Ask before using.
-Ask before moving.
-Don’t interrupt or yell out.
Don’t embarrass others.
IF YOU ARE INVITED TO A PARTY
1 – Dress appropriately for the occasion.
2 -RSVP promptly. Always respond to an invitation after you receive it or acknowledge that you have got it. If you suddenly can’t make it that’s okay. Just make sure you give your host lots of notice.
3 -Never show up early or more than 15 minutes late.
4 -Don’t bring along anyone else with you if they weren’t invited. Or if you need to bring an extra person make sure you check first with the host to make sure that’s okay. Don’t just turn up with extra friends!
5 -Turn off your phone or electronics when speaking to other people.
GOOD MANNERS WHEN SPEAKING
To show respect and politeness please use these expressions when making requests:
Will you pass me the book?
Would you pass me the book?
Would You Please?
Would you please pass me the book?
Could You Please?
Could you please pass me the book?
Could You Possibly?
Could you possibly pass me the book?
Would You Kindly?
Would you kindly pass me the book?
Would You Mind?
Would you mind passing me the book?
Or if you want to sound really proper!
Would You Be So Kind As To?
Would you be so kind as to pass me the book?
Also think about the WAY you speak. Remember to speak in a nice, kind tone instead of a mean or rude way.
HOW TO HAVE A LOVELY DAY
Smile at strangers.
Say thank you.
Give compliments freely.
Observe and listen.
Wish others a lovely day.
THINGS MONEY CAN’T BUY
FINAL WORD ON MANNERS
No, you aren’t a bad parent if your child has bad manners. Every kid has slipped up on their journey through childhood.
It is important to note that every bad learned habit can usually be unlearned if you are consistent and vigilant about making a change.
Please don’t make excuses for your child’s bad manners if they behave badly on occasion.
Instead own it and explain to your child why their behavior wasn’t appropriate and what they could do differently next time.
If you let them constantly get away with bad behavior or always make excuses for your kids, you aren’t doing them or yourself any favors. Trust me, you’re not.
Instead you are robbing your kids from the opportunity to do better or improve their behavior next time. Just some food for thought….
To purchase THE SMART KIDS GUIDE TO EVERYTHING for only $2.99 click here.
Want to improve you or your child’s life for as little as $2.99? Then check out my books that are written specifically with you guys in mind. My goal is to inspire you to do better and ultimately live more fabulous lives.