Teaching Children Good Manners

by NDFAuthors

  • Feb 19, 2014

In our busy world with so much on our plates, it would be easiest to go through life being rude and disrespectful to others. While it does take extra effort to be considerate and have good manners, the extra effort is worth it to make our world a kinder place.

What are good manners

Instilling good manners and etiquette start at a young age. Teaching a child good manners gives them the tools to succeed at their best as an adult.

Parents magazine says that by reinforcing the below 25 manners, which are simple rules of etiquette, parents can raise a polite, well-mannered child.1 The below manners may seem obvious, but they aren’t always followed.

Manner 1: When asking for something, say “please.”
Manner 2: When receiving something, say “thank you.”
Manner 3: Do not interrupt unless it is an emergency.
Manner 4: If you need someone’s attention immediately, say “excuse me.”
Manner 5: When you have doubts about doing something, ask permission first.
Manner 6: Keep negative opinions to yourself or between you and your friends.
Manner 7: Do not comment on others’ physical characteristics unless it is to compliment them.
Manner 8: When people ask how you are, tell them and ask them how they are in return.
Manner 9: When you spend time at a friend’s house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over.
Manner 10: Knock on closed doors and wait for a response before entering.
Manner 11: When making a phone call, introduce yourself and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.
Manner 12: Say “thank you” for gifts you receive with handwritten thank-you notes.
Manner 13: Never use foul language.
Manner 14: Do not call people mean names.
Manner 15: Do not make fun of anyone for any reason.
Manner 16: Even if something is boring, sit quietly and pretend you are interested.
Manner 17: If you bump into someone, immediately say “excuse me.”
Manner 18: Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and don’t pick your nose in public.
Manner 19: As you walk through a door, see if you can hold it open for someone else.
Manner 20: If you come across someone working on something, ask if you can help. You may learn something new.
Manner 21: If an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.
Manner 22: When someone helps you, say “thank you.”
Manner 23: Use eating utensils properly.
Manner 24: Keep a napkin on your lap and use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.
Manner 25: Don’t reach for things at the table. Ask to have them passed.

How to teach good manners

Everyone knows the Golden Rule is to treat others the way you want to be treated. There is also a Golden Rule of parenting: Be the person you want your child to be. If you want your child to be respectful, considerate and have good manners, you have to be respectful, considerate and have good manners. They will observe you acting in this way and imitate you.


Here are some great tips to teach your child manners:2

Model Manners – Have manners and your child will learn to have manners too.

Practice at Home – Practice good manners with your child at home at the dinner table, during playtime and having them answer the telephone.

Give them the words – There are 5 “good manner” words that should be a part of every child’s vocabulary. They are: “Thank you,” “Please,” “May I…,” “Excuse Me” and “No, Thank You.”

Give positive reinforcement – Encourage and praise good behavior.

Be Patient – Children need time to understand how to have good manners. As they are taught and observe good manners, they will begin to have good manners too.

Learn to coach – Help your child establish goals that will help them with their
interpersonal communication and interaction. Sit down with your child and talk with them about why it is important to have good manners.

Teach table manners – Instruct your child where their napkin goes, which fork to use, etc.

Correct them on the spot – Let your child know immediately if they’ve done something that constitutes as bad manners. Take a moment to correct them, which may mean having to excuse yourself from a situation to speak with them privately.

Speak well – Be well-spoken and your child, too, will have good speech habits.

Lose prejudices – Don’t hold strong opinions about a group or person, at least in front of your child. Teach your child to judge a person by the content of their character and to not be prejudiced.