Family life

10 must-have manners

Good manners have changed a lot over the years but some attentions never go out of style. To raise a polite and well-liked child, here are ten must-have manners.

Don’t interrupt

Does this conversation ring a bell?

- Have you…
- MOM?
- finished your…
-… have you seen…
-… homework yet?
-… my black socks?

Teaching a child to wait their turn in a line or in a conversation will prevent a lot of trouble and exasperation. It is the first step to teach them patience, which will be very useful in their adulthood, and it will make it easier for them to understand why they must raise their hand in class.

How to get someone’s attention

You should tell your child that in order to get someone’s attention, we say, “Please excuse me” or “Pardon me for interrupting”. Not “Hey” or screaming that person’s name because that would be rude, and it would start the conversation on the wrong foot.

Magic words

A child who says please and thank you is always nicer to be around than a child who doesn’t. And that also applies for adults. Often, parents ask children to use the magic words but won’t use them. Let’s keep in mind that politeness goes both ways, and we should not forget to set the example just because we are in a position of authority.

Put your hand over your mouth

When we yawn, we should always put our hand over our mouth. When we cough, it's better to cover our mouth with our elbow.  You’d be amazed to see the number of people who are truly irritated by children and adults who don’t cover their mouths. Can you blame them for not wanting your germs to spread all over them?

Greeting the family at the door

When grandpa, grandma, uncles, aunts, and friends arrive, it’s not too much to ask to shut the computer or the television and get up to welcome them in. It’s also polite to walk them to the door when they are about to leave. Speaking of doors, it could also be wise to show them how to politely hold the door for people at the mall or elsewhere without being stuck there for the afternoon if these other people are not polite enough to grab it too.

Watch your tone

You don’t talk as loudly on a soccer field, on a playground or in a house where someone is asleep. Children must learn to whisper in some circumstances like at the library or when someone is giving a show. The tone is also important. Aggressiveness, condescendence, whining, and screams have no place in a decent conversation.

Answer the phone correctly

“Yeah? Who is it?” Don’t wait until you expect an important phone call to teach your kids the basics of telephone conversations. They should answer “Hello?’ and say “One moment please”. You should also remind them to turn down the television when they call someone and to lower their voice when you are on the phone. Finally, tell them that they should never give their name to a stranger who calls and asks: “Who is this?” They should reply: “To whom do you wish to speak?”


Bumping into someone, dropping something when someone was about to take it from us or slamming a door deserves an apology. Anything that could seem voluntarily rude deserves an apology, especially if your child doesn’t want to look like they did it on purpose.

Table manners

Eating with your mouth open, drinking or eating a soup noisily and talking with your mouth full are all highly irritating behaviors. You don’t have to teach your kids everything about table etiquette but asking them to take small bites and swallowing before talking is a minimum. Also, remind them to ask their guests if they are hungry or thirsty because usually, guests are too shy to ask!

Look at people when they are talking to you

When someone is talking to you, the least you can do is look at his or her face. Looking at your feet while chewing gum is a no-no! And smiling is ALWAYS the best option!

Image de Anne Costisella

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