Manners and Etiquette for Children
Manners and etiquette for children is ranked as the most important quality to nurture in the family home.
Instilling good manners in some teens will feel like an almost impossible task. But don't despair, just keep at it.
You will be surprised how much of your pushing and nagging about being well mannered stays with them.
Good Manners are essential for every child's self confidence and success in life.
Manners and etiquette for children in the Family Home
In the family home - this is where it starts, where the 'manners seed' is planted and nurtured.
This is where your children learn not only good manners, but also core values and ethics.
This is the haven where your children learn to be considerate, tolerant and respectful.
They learn to share and to respect the space of all other family members.
This is the place where your children put into practice the foundation of all the social etiquette they will need to carry them through life.
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Let's start with respect. Respecting a person's privacy is very important. In the family home this is one of the most important rules. Parents, teenagers and even the little ones - all deserve a degree of privacy. All deserve utmost respect.
Most of these 'good manners and etiquette for children' pointers below apply to both parents and children - remember you have to 'practice what you preach'.
1. If the door is closed, it is respectful and good manners to knock and wait for permission to enter
2. If you want to borrow something, don't just help yourself, always ask permission and make sure you return whatever it is you borrow. Make sure you return it in the same or better condition
3. Never go looking through another person's private possessions without their permission, that is extremely bad mannered
4. I know it is very tempting to read your sister's diary and love letters, but restrain yourself, that is very private and you wouldn't like someone to do that to you
5. Your family's affairs are private and should be kept that way. If mum and dad have an argument or the business is not doing well, or your brother is not doing well at school, it has nothing to do with outsiders
However, if a family member is being abused in any way, that is different and someone in a position of authority should be told
6. Another rule in the book of manners and etiquette for children is you should not expect anyone to clean up after you. Leave the bathroom, toilet, kitchen and TV room clean and tidy, don't leave your dirty dishes around the house.
Your wet towels or dirty dishes are your responsibility. If you share a bedroom, then share the responsibility of keeping it clean and tidy
7. We'll repeat, practicing the art of good manners and etiquette starts in the home, let your parental guidance follow through to school and the sports field.
For example, if the children are playing a board game at home, the loser needs to learn to accept that in good grace.
If on a sports field, they need to know it is good etiquette to thank the opposing team, shake hands and say, "Well done!"
8. Kids Telephone Etiquette - do NOT underestimate what a strong favorable impression your kid's good telephone manners can have on people phoning your home
9. Good Table Manners and Etiquette for Children should be a way of life
10. Parents, at all times be aware of your own behavior, highlight acts of good manners and etiquette and of course good social behavior
If you send a thank you note to someone, mention it in front of the children, say something like, 'I'm just sending a thank you note to Aunt Maggie, she was so helpful running you children to school last week when I couldn't manage' - that way, showing appreciation is just a normal way to behave and not a lesson in manners and etiquette for children
11. If you are sending flowers in the event of a death in the family, it is a good time to explain
to the children.
These 'silent' lessons in manners and etiquette for children have more of a lasting impact when they are seen and experienced. So always strike while the iron is hot, so to speak
12. Try really hard not to embarrass anyone, what may seem humorous and teasing is often very embarrassing, just think how you would feel under the circumstances.
So don't use embarrassment as a lesson in manners and etiquette for children, just put yourself in their position
Another important lesson in manners and etiquette for children is meeting and greeting guests
Children are never too young to learn the art of welcoming family and guests. Your child is never too young to learn this valuable rule of etiquette and good manners, a warm and friendly greeting is essential.
Depending on the age and sex of the child the following rules of manners and etiquette for children may be observed:
1. Open the door and invite the guests in, smile and be welcoming
2. If the child is a boy, it is good manners and masculine to shake hands with the adult males
3. Either take the guests coats (and please don't just bundle them up!) or if you prefer, show them where they can leave belongings
4. If it is the grandparents visiting, perhaps a hug and kiss would be nice. Depends on what is expected
5. It is good manners and etiquette for children and teenagers to be respectful and not 'smart mouth' adults when they are greeted, especially when they are asked questions about what's happening in their life.
Just answer politely and excuse yourself as soon as it is polite to do so, that is if you feel you don't want to answer or are too shy to talk anymore
6. If you have a friend staying over, introduce your friend to the visitors don't just leave them standing there like a spare part
Being a Guest
It is equally important to have good manners and know what is the proper etiquette when you are a guest in someone's home.
I am sure you practice most of these guidelines yourself, but just to refresh your memory from that wonderful imaginary book called 'Manners and Etiquette for Children':
1. Don't go visiting unless you are invited or you have phoned to see if it is convenient
2. Permission from both your parents and your friend's parents is a must especially if you are wanting to stay overnight
3. Never assume you can stay as long as you please. Let your friend's parents know exactly when you will be leaving and how you will be getting home
4. Always get stuck in and help, don't wait to be asked and don't expect to be waited on
5. Make up your bed, tidy the room, keep your belongings out of the way and it goes without saying, leave the bathroom spotless!
Remember your good manners and etiquette will not go unnoticed and will be a reflection of the quality and standards of your upbringing and your parents
6. Be sure to say, "Thank you" when you leave. Reciprocate by inviting your friend to your house sometime in the future
General Rules of Good Manners and Etiquette in Public Places
1. Give up your seat for an adult, especially for an old person, a handicapped person or pregnant women. Not only is it good manners and etiquette but bear in mind that one day you too will be old and frail
2. Sitting with your feet up on the seats is a sloppy and disgusting habit, people have to sit there and obviously the soles of your shoes really are very dirty
3. Eating on public transport is messy and not necessary, the smell of hamburgers, pies, chips etc., can be quite stomach churning to other passengers
4. Turn off your mobile phone, I'm sure the rest of the passengers are not interested in your personal business
5. Turn down your portable music, it is very irritating to hear that scratchy sound blasting continuously
6. Skateboarding down the aisle of the train is both stupid and dangerous .. yes I have actually seen it done!
7. Place your garbage in a bin, imagine if everybody just scattered their rubbish throughout the streets
8. Our pet hate is the so called graffiti artist! Words fail us! It is so destructive and ugly! Get a life and do something useful kiddo
9. When in a group, try to keep your voices down and behavior less boisterous, people around you may be having a bad day, or feeling ill, it is called consideration as well as good manners
10. Watch your language, it may be cool to use 4 letter words in front of your friends, but is rude, bad mannered and disrespectful to do this in public places
11. To bully other kids, is cowardly. You wouldn't do it if you were on your own and you wouldn't like someone to do it to you
12. By the same token, don't be bullied. Be polite, remember your manners and stand up for yourself.
Even if it is an adult trying to bully you, you have the right to defend yourself
13. Old people are easily intimidated, be kind, polite, respectful and helpful
14. Open the door for others. Allow adults to go through first while you hold the door open for them.
If you do enter first, don't let the door slam in the face of those behind you
15. Before you enter a lift (elevator), allow the people inside the lift (elevator) to exit first.
This rule of etiquette also applies to buildings or even a room, let the person inside exit first
16. This next rule of manners and etiquette is one of the most important ones. See our page on
It is well known that when this rule is abused or ignored it even creates wars between countries. This is the rule of respecting differences. The world has become a multicultural society. A society where there is a huge diversity of beliefs, cultures, races, colors, rituals, protocols, etiquettes and traditions.
Different nationalities of people are living together in many different countries. Your set of rules for good manners and etiquette for children and adults are based on good values and work well for your culture and your country and so too are the rules of good manners and etiquette for children and adults that have evolved for other cultures. They are just different but still hold good values
The simple idea behind manners and etiquette for children and adults boils down to having customs that are common to your country and genetics, being considerate and having common sense.
An example of customs: Simply observe how Japanese people greet each other; they nod their head. In America, Australia and many other countries, men shake hands - both a mannerly way to greet people
An example of being inconsiderate: Being rude to someone is unnecessary, all it does is make you feel bad and hurt the other person's feelings. What is the point of being rude?
If you as parents don't know how to teach values to your kids, try these few simple rules.
Doing something, is better than ignoring the subject of manners and etiquette for children (future adults):
1. Have them join the Cub Scouts, Scouts or Girl Guides at an early age and continuously until they are old enough for the next step
2. Have them join the Cadets with any arm of the Defence Forces as soon as they are old enough to do so
3. They must finish high school at least
4. They must always be home before dark
5. Encourage them to do a minimum term in one of the armed forces when they leave high school.
They will emerge all the better for it with greater confidence, sense of responsibility and well disciplined.
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On that final note of teaching your children good manners and etiquette, please browse the rest of A - Z of Manners and Etiquette.
We would love to hear about your views on manners and etiquette for children and how you have experienced and dealt with various situations.
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Manners & Etiquette for Children
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Or go direct to our other pages concerning children:
Children's Telephone Manners
Children's Table Manners
Children & Funerals
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