Etiquette for Kids


I have to admit, issues surrounding etiquette can put me on quite the soapbox. I suppose being raised by a Home Economics major {my mom} probably contributed to the mild panic attacks I experience when I see people who do not adhere to basic etiquette rules. Call me archaic — I realize that many people believe etiquette standards are outdated and old fashioned. I would beg to differ. I hope to raise my son {yes, I know…it is going to be challenging — but being a boy is not an excuse to throw etiquette out of the window!} the way my mom raised me. Besides the standard manners (say please/thank you, excuse me, etc.) there are a few etiquette rules that I consider essential to pass on to my children.

Table Manners:
When it comes to table manners, “boys will be boys” is not an excuse for unruly behavior at the dinner table! I don’t consider myself to be super uptight (I’m sure my husband would disagree). However, hearing kids pass gas or announce, “I need to POOP” at the dinner table is disgusting (and yes, I have witnessed both of these things…and not just from kids haha!).

Thank You Notes:
Thank you notes are becoming a lost art form. In the age of email, Facebook, and text messaging, people think that a quick electronic “thank you” will suffice. Sending a snail mail thank you note is a small gesture you can do to show appreciation. Most people only think of sending thank you notes for tangible gifts (baby shower, wedding shower, etc.). However, it can be nice to send thank you notes for gifts that are not material. You can send thank you notes to acknowledge a kind gesture or action someone did toward you. Every now and then I will just drop a thank you note in the mail to let a friend know that I am thinking of them and that I am thankful to have them in my life. Get the kids involved at an early age. Make them aware when you are sending thank you notes and remind them of the importance of a “thank you.” Allow them to be involved in writing thank you notes for birthday gifts. If they are too young to write, have them “sign” (scribble) their name on the cards after you write them. Always have blank, neutral thank you notes on hand!

Holding Doors:
While holding a door open is often thought of as a gentleman’s act, I think it is just basic human courtesy. If you are walking with someone, always offer to open the door. Also, when you are going through a door, check behind you and hold the door if someone is entering after you. It is rude to let a door slam in someone’s face!

Offer Your Seat:
Again, not just a task for the gentlemen among us! If you are seated it is always good etiquette to offer your seat to someone who is standing. Especially if that person is older than you {OR pregnant…I can’t tell you how many times I was in a restaurant while visibly pregnant and no one offered a seat to me while waiting!}.

Phone Manners:
This is an etiquette issue for many adults! Always identify yourself first, and then ask to speak with the person you are trying to reach.

Now, before all of the people I know in real life jump to comment on this post with all of the unladylike things they have witnessed from me, I know that I do not always practice what I preach (just FYI, I DO NOT pass gas at dinner…). Now that I have little eyes watching me, I try to model good social skills and simple etiquette rules…because as you all know — little ones are the first to point out when we correct a behavior that they have witnessed from us!

Remember — the best way to teach good etiquette is to model good etiquette!

What etiquette guidelines would you add to this list? Please leave a comment and let me know!

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