Only Young Once

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Manners and Social Etiquette for Kids

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We live in a casual culture that can sometimes make manners easy to forget. Raise your kids up right by teaching a combination of both classic and modern etiquette that will help them successfully glide through any social situation.


Visiting Homes of Friends and Family

Playdates, holidays and school tutoring – just a few examples of times your child may be visiting someone else’s house. You can easily teach manners to your child while on outings by giving them some small responsibilities. First, allow them to ring the doorbell or knock on the door. Kids love to do this and never seem to grow tired of it, but they can also be excessive and/or aggressive in their approach. Limit kids to one ring of the doorbell or two knocks. This will help them learn to not only calm themselves before greeting the resident, but also how to be patient as they wait for the door to open.

Once the door is opened, encourage your child to wait to be invited in. This is a dying art when it comes to home visits. We are all too comfortable with friends and family to wait for such an invitation. Instead, we tend to walk on through, and this can cause children to cease to acknowledge the adult who opened the door to allow access to their playmate. Remind kids to greet the parent who answers before running on to the family member they came to see. This is also a great time to teach children how to properly address elders. Take it back with “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “sir” and “ma’am.” Not only will your child be properly addressing grownups, they will be irresistibly charming to boot!


At the Dinner Table

Both at home and at meals with friends and relatives, children can show off their great manners during dinner time. Teach children to allow adults to be served first, although this often counterintuitive in our culture where many restaurants will bring the children’s meals out before the adult entrees. Even during casual meals at home, children should wait for everyone to be served before they begin eating. When passing things across the table, encourage pleases and thank yous. Discourage silent reaching across the table by asking your child to pass you something as an example of how it should be done.


Being Thankful

Kids in our country rarely want for much – many families are blessed enough to purchase their children items during any time of year, and we live a very comfortable existence. This can, unfortunately, reduce a sense of true gratitude in the lives of some children. For this reason, it’s important to remind your child to be thankful for what is given to them, be it a birthday gift or special meal at a friend’s house.
Handwritten thank you notes are still the best way to express gratitude. While a bit old school, they allow your child an adequate chunk of time to reflect upon what they are writing and to properly practice thankfulness. Leaving a phone message or shooting off an email does not have the same personable feel of gratefulness as a handwritten note sent via traditional mail.


These are just a few of the ideas out there when it comes to teaching youngsters proper manners. There are many etiquette books written especially for children so consider picking one of these up and practicing some role playing with your child before heading out to that next event or party.

Do you have any suggestions to share concerning social etiquette for kids?


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