Children's Etiquette

Tips for Good Manners

Posted by Liz Taylor May 09, 2012

I recently taught a children’s etiquette class to an energetic group of elementary school students who were excited to learn. After the class, I had a number of parents request a list of pointers they could keep on hand as a guide for manners. Good manners are essential for every child’s self confidence and success in life. Here are my top tips:

1.)    Magic Words. When asking for something, say “Please”; when receiving something, say “Thank you.” If you bump into someone, apologize and say, “Excuse me”.  

2.)    Teasing hurts. What may seem humorous to you might embarrass the other person. Always remember your mom’s slogan: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Keep negative opinions to yourself to avoid upsetting others. Also, watch your language because bad words will not impress anyone.

3.)    Losing a Game. We can’t win every game, so when you lose, thank the opponent, shake hands and say, “Well done”.

4.)    Respect Privacy. Knock on a door before entering and refrain from reading your sister’s diary.

5.)    Thank You Letter. After a birthday party or holiday where you’ve received a gift, write a thank you letter to show your appreciation.

6.)    Being a Guest. Don’t visit unless invited and be appreciative of the opportunity to be in someone else’s home.  Remember to thank your friend’s parents for having you over and tell them you had a nice time.  

7.)    Respect Adults. When meeting someone for the first time, look the person in the eye, shake hands and smile. Refer to adults as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” until they tell you to call them by their first name. If you are on a bus or train, give up your seat for an older person, handicapped person or pregnant woman. Opening doors for others is also very kind.  

8.)    Cell Phones. If you own a phone, please know that adults get frustrated over the rude use of cell phone behavior. Turn off your cell phone and watch the texting when you are questioning whether the person you are with might be offended.

9.)    General Manners. Eat with your mouth closed and don’t pick food out of your teeth in public. Keep your elbows off the table while you are eating and if you must sneeze or cough, cover your mouth.

Adults, try to set the best example possible. For example, if you are sending a thank you letter to someone, do it in front of your children and explain why you are doing it. When you are eating at the table, explain why you eat a certain way and always speak out loud so the kids will pick up on your behavior.  As always, please feel free to send over any questions you might have.

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

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