Everyday Manners for Kids

Here is some simple advice on how to teach your child manners at home. It does not take much time to add these few tips to help your child learn good manners. Just begin practicing these few steps to help your child get on a the right path and help them stand out and shine!

  1. Practice Using Kind Words - “Please” and “Thank you” have always been the magic words and they still are. Help make these words part of your child’s everyday vocabulary by making them part of your everyday vocabulary, and then practicing together. Use these words at home rather than just a novelty thing when you are out and about.

  2. Greetings - As soon as your child is old enough to understand, begin teaching them to greet people by name. Teach them to look others in the eye (not at the ground) and say “Hello” clearly. Children are never too young to learn to shake hands as well (always the right hand and give a simple firm shake). Remember it is much more respectful for a child to use a title when addressing all adults as Aunt Alice or Mrs. Jones, or Dr. Smith. If you are chatting with another adult, teach your child to wait for a break in the conversation before interrupting. Interrupting the conversation with an “Excuse Me” and expecting that to be the magic word to stop all conversation is incorrect. Having your child wait patiently for a break in the conversation will teach them patience, which is a virtue.

  3. Manners When Out and About – With small children make sure before you leave the house they are well fed and rested to avoid crankiness. Set boundaries and guidelines for expected behavior and create consequences for bad behavior. Make sure you follow through with the consequences or you’ll just be blowing out hot air and your child will not take you serious. In addition, be sure to teach them that good manners are used EVERYWHERE not just at home or at Grandma’s house. Make good manners a habit at home so they will use them everywhere.

  4. Thank You Notes – Teach your child to write thank you notes and help them to do so. However, it is not necessary to write a thank you note if the gift giver is present while the gift is being opened. Just be sure your child thanks them personally when they open the gift. Otherwise, you can make note writing a family project. Smaller children, who can’t write, can draw a picture or scribble their thank you on a card; while older children may need your help when addressing the envelopes etc.

  5. Table Manners – Practice at home. Have your child set the table (boys and girls) this is how I got my very first start. Then be sure the entire family sits down to dinner together.

  • Napkin goes on the lap.

  • Help your child to properly use the utensils.

  • Keep elbows off the table (except in between courses).

  • Pass food around the table to the right.

  • Take small bites, chew with their mouth closed, and DON’T talk with food in their mouth.

  • Include your child in dinner conversation and keep it positive and fun.