The 25 Most Important Manners

I recently posted this on our Facebook page and saw it immediately reposted on several parents’ profiles. It must resonate with some people. Here at the Coop we always try to remember to Think About The Needs of Others. ¬†Learning to empathize, to see others’ views and recognize their feelings is important. These manners go a long way to remembering that mantra.

Helping your child master these simple rules of etiquette will get him noticed — for all the right reasons.
By David Lowry, Ph.D.

Your child’s rude ‘tude isn’t always intentional. Sometimes kids just don’t realize it’s impolite to interrupt, pick their nose, or loudly observe that the lady walking in front of them has a large behind. And in the hustle and bustle of daily life, busy moms and dads don’t always have the time to focus on etiquette. But if you reinforce these 25 must-do manners, you’ll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child.-

Manner #1

When asking for something, say “Please.”¬†

Manner #2

When receiving something, say “Thank you.”

Manner #3

Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking. (At the Coop, we call this “waiting for the space”.)

Manner #4

If you do need to get somebody’s attention right away, the phrase “excuse me” is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.

Manner #5

When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.

Manner #6

The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.

Manner #7

Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.

Manner #8

When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.

Manner #9

When you have spent time at your friend’s house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.

Manner #10

Knock on closed doors — and wait to see if there’s a response — before entering.

Manner #11

When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling. (As a mom, I always thought better of the children who said, “Hello, Mrs. Marsters, is Austin there?” rather than the kids who said, “Is Austin there?” after my hello. After all, we knew each other already and usually very well.)

Manner #12

Be appreciative and say “thank you” for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect. (At the Coop we say or write thank you notes to all special visitors, including Mystery Readers, Firefighters and Helping Parents.)

Manner #13

Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant.

Manner #14

Don’t call people mean names.

Manner #15

Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.

Manner #16

Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.

Manner #17

If you bump into somebody, immediately say “Excuse me.”

Manner #18

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t pick your nose in public. (At the Coop we teach the children to cough or sneeze in the crook of their elbow.)

Manner #19

As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.

Manner #20

If you come across a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say “yes,” do so — you may learn something new.

Manner #21

When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.

Manner #22

When someone helps you, say “thank you.” That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teachers!

Manner #23

Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.

Manner #24

Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.

Manner #25

Don’t reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.

Originally published in the March 2011 issue of Parents magazine.