The manners all kids need to learn, but parents often forget to teach

Posted in Family.

Parenting nowadays is clearly a lot different than our own childhoods or that of our parents. Expecting children to be seen, but not heard is no longer the golden rule. And most modern mums and dads prefer to spare the rod and spoil the child. Yes, parenting is a lot less structured, a lot more digital, a lot less personal and a lot more opinionated. 

But even with the changing times, some lessons remain the same, such as manners.

Teaching your children basic manners will never go out of style, regardless of what type of parent you are. Here are some of the most important things to bestow on your children. 

toddler say sl nan

How to say hello

Many children will tense up when someone says hello to them. It’s easy to pass it off as shyness, which it probably is, but it is important to help your child build his confidence up so he can say hello back. 

G’day works too. 

How to give and receive a compliment

Saying, “thank you,” when someone gives you a compliment may seem pretty standard to us, but it isn’t always the case for children, especially reserved ones. And giving someone a compliment can be a terrifying experience. 

The easiest way to help your children understand compliments is to practice. Give your children plenty of compliments and teach them the correct way to respond to them. With compliments comes confidence. 

How to have a two way conversation

While some children will happily banter on to anyone and everyone, others will freeze up and answer a question like, “How are you?” with a shrug or a quick “Fine.” Role play the proper way to have a conversation to help them learn. 

How to wait their turn

Patience is everything but these days many kids expect something immediately (or yesterday even). And thus it is up to us to teach them to put others first, to share, to wait in line and to not swear when the traffic is built up five blocks on school drop off. 

Every. Single. Morning. 


How to answer the phone

Most kids these days can easily swipe through your phone, press in your passcode, take a video, buy a new app and Like something on Facebook. But can they pick up the phone and answer it politely? Can they say, “Hello, so-and-so-speaking”. Can they reply, “Yes hold on a minute please”. 

Mine certainly can’t. But they do know how to take 25 selfies of their noses. So that’s something…

How to start and finish a meal

Whether eating at home, at a friend’s or at a restaurant, it takes some practice for children to learn how to eat politely. Your child isn’t going to come out of the womb knowing how to use a knife and fork or which spoon is the dessert spoon and these lessons aren’t necessary just yet.

But waiting for everyone to sit down before eating, remaining at the table until everyone is finished, saying thank you and helping to clear the plates are things you can practise every meal. 

How to say goodbye

It is important that children are taught that when they leave, they say goodbye and thank their guest. Leaving without saying goodbye – these days known as ghosting – is considered rude, but a child obviously doesn’t understand this without guidance from an adult. 

Patience, politeness, respect and empathy are four of the most important aspects of manners and ones that many of us bypass when teaching our kids (myself certainly included!). And often all it takes is a little practice and simulation to instil these important life lessons in our next generation.

Check out our age-appropriate chore guide for some more ideas on teaching children responsibility as well as our feature, Dear Parents – you’re doing a great job and here’s the list that proves it.  Because, even if your child forgets to say thank you after a meal, we’re still pretty sure you’re nailing parenting.


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