Tuesdays Top 10 – Manners Your Kid Should Know By Age 5

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 by from Mom, Myself, & I

manners girlKids are never too young to learn manners.  In fact, in a day and age when we are seeing more teenagers lacking in the manner department, it seems more important than ever that the parents of young kids start early in teaching their children how to interact with the world.  The truth is your child will get further in life, and will be more respected by adults and playmates alike, if they learn manners. 

Whenever I see a child without a clue about how to act in public, or how to interact with adults I immediately blame the parents.  Very young children are not just developmentally ready, but eager to learn how to appropriately engage with others socially. 

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1.  How to say please.  And thank you.  Please and thank you, in the words of Barney the purple dinosaur, truly are the magic words.  And this little tidbit of mannerly behavior can be taught even before your child is able to talk.  Making please and thank you a habit in the home, makes these courtesies a habit in life.

2.  How to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.  Spittle flying from little noses and mouths is just plain gross.  Trust me; teachers appreciate children who know this before they get to school.

3.  How to ASK before taking.  There is nothing more disturbing than a child who hasn’t yet learned that they aren’t the center of the universe.  Children should ASK before taking something that is not theirs, and this includes mom and dad’s stuff.

4.  How to say sorry:  for real.  Not the kind of “I’m sorry” that means nothing because they were forced to say it by an angry parent.  Empathy is definitely a life skill.

5.  How to KNOCK on doors before entering.  And this includes the bathroom while mom is trying to take a poop in private. 

6.  How to say “Excuse me!”  Children are naturally impatient.  Far too often, you see parents who jump every time their child interrupts them.  Children need to learn when they can and when they cannot interrupt people, and should learn how to gently say “excuse me,” rather than insist on incessant tapping and saying “Mama, Mama, Mama.”

7.  How to sit quietly.  It’s rude to talk through an entire movie.  Kids need to learn how to calm down their wiggles and giggles in less than interesting situations.  Patience is a definitely a virtue.

8.  Okay, so my dinner table is at times pure pandemonium.  Still, my kids know how to use their cutlery, and how NOT to talk with their mouths full.  And when we are not at home, manners are a must – even for my 5 year old.

9.  Not to make fun of people.  Toddlers and young children are notorious for pointing out gigantic moles or fat people in public.  But parents must teach children that sometimes insults like these hurt feelings unnecessarily.  It’s not nice to make fun of people or point out their flaws. 

10.  How to be helpful and compassionate.  Hold a door open for someone that has their hands full.  Ask their teacher or parent if they need help with chores.  Recognizing ways to be helpful and compassionate to others is a gift that children can learn early in life, one that will make them feel good about themselves – and be well liked by others.

What manners do you feel are important for children to know?  How do you instill manners in your child?

What do you think? Tuesdays Top 10 – Manners Your Kid Should Know By Age 5

Stef DanielAuthor

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (w ... More

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32 comments

  1. Avatar of Alanna Alanna says:

    I’m all about manners. Teaching is most effective when setting a good example.

  2. I think it’s important to note that children learn from our example. You should not need to write a list of manners we should ‘teach’. If we respect our children and show them them socially acceptable behaviour they are likely to do the same. However, let’s let kids be kids up to a point as they don’t understand all our social rules when they are young toddlers. P.S in the realm of manners, perhaps the author should look at use of language such as. "fat person". It seems like the author was an ill-mannered child and now thinks all children are inherently unable to pick up on socially acceptable ways to behave.

  3. Avatar of Skape Skape says:

    Why is it only his mother’s job to teach him? Obviously his father hasn’t done a very good job either…

  4. Avatar of DanaGoodman DanaGoodman says:

    Love this. My oldest is 2 and already knows most of these things. He says "No thank you!" all the time instead of flat out no to people. Sometimes it is still rude but so much better than a lot of kids. I agree with other posters that this is commonsense stuff but sadly most kids don’t know how to do a lot of these things. And it does start at an early age. Wish my kiddo wouldn’t think blowing his snot on other people was funny…that one is a struggle for us right now. But he is doing really well. Now to get the 1 year old trained…

  5. These are all basic commonsense things. It’s sad that you have to point them out! (Regarding the comment about ‘fat’ as a descriptor: I’m a fat person. I don’t mind "fat" as a descriptor, when it is used as simply that. It’s the times that it’s used with malice that becomes a problem. It’s the time when additional words are tacked on, such as "lazy", or "stupid", or "worthless", and other hateful words that there is an issue. "Fat" isn’t the problem, but the malice, and the hateful descriptors are the problem. We are fat, and that simple 3 letter word should never be viewed as a problem. — To people who do use it with malice, or speak hatefully of fat people: STOP IT. It’s a low brow tactic, first of all. Second, you aren’t making any sort of point, you are only proving that you know how to be rude and ignorant.) I’d also like to see people stop using "r3tard/ed" as an insult, or attaching "-tard" onto words as a pejorative suffix. That’s all kinds of tacky, and a sign of needing a lesson in manners ASAP.

  6. Avatar of Sara Sara says:

    Another one that bothers me is when people smack their food and chew with their mouths open. Maybe it’s just a personal preference but it drives me nuts! I can’t tell you how many grown people, in addition to children, I see smacking their food obnoxiously. I can understand if the person has a stuffy nose or it’s a really small child and they aren’t able to control it, but otherwise it’s totally disgusting! Both of my children chew with their mouths closed and I’m working on my husband, lol.

  7. Avatar of TinaMilligan TinaMilligan says:

    Shouldn’t manners be used at all times.. As say instead of teaching your kids to use "over-weight" instead of the rude "fat people"

  8. Amen!! So refreshing to hear this from someone else!!! We have obesessive when it comes to these things. We have been told to relax by our parents, but we don’t give and it has completely paid off!! Even if its trying to get them toe the line around here. When mommy is talking about manners, and proper behavior she means business! Out in public…. Whoa boy by three they know what NOT to do.

  9. I’m on the same boat as you.. I will keep trying though!

  10. Avatar of Kevryn Kevryn says:

    Kids definitely learn by example. Do these things yourself and your children will follow your actions

  11. i wish adults used these manners

  12. Avatar of Sarah Sarah says:

    Children learn from their parents so as long as a parent dose these activities and use these manner a child will to. Is what to call people, no hey lady or anything like that! I was taught by my parents that unless given permission otherwise i would call an adult by their proper "title" EX: Mrs. Smith Ms. Jones Mr. Davis

  13. Avatar of racquel racquel says:

    My point being…. a community effort is required at all times

  14. Avatar of racquel racquel says:

    Eveeyone always compliments my 15 year olds manners and i am always told that she is a joy to have around. what i would like to know is……. since when did "yep" become an acceptable replacement for your welcome?(which i do not let her say). manners are not only learned at home but also in interaction with the outside world. i was taufht and ao are my children to respect their elders but that is alao a two way street. it burns my hide when my daughter holds a door open for someone and they do not ha
    e the decency to say thank you. My point being g

  15. Avatar of monkeybells monkeybells says:

    It is also super helpful if you explain the WHY of manners….they are a show of respect in all cases of those around you and in some cases reduction of health and safety risks! We never tell our daughter "because I said so". She is a person and chooses to do these things because she wants to be a good person.

  16. Avatar of ErinF ErinF says:

    I wish adults and children alike would practice these! I’ve known so many grown, educated people who don’t follow a single one. My parents taught by example and by positive reinforcement, and I hope to do the same.

  17. Avatar of JenniDunfee JenniDunfee says:

    These are easy if YOU yourself act that way. :)

    I think people are always surprised by how polite my kids are because I have tattoos, piercings, and occasionally colorful hair. I think I have to be more open, polite, and friendly to dispel stereotypes :) Plus my mother and grandmother would skin me alive for being rude, lol.

  18. Avatar of Bronte Bronte says:

    I liked this article a lot , my husbands family made me feel so controlling when I made my expectations known about manners . Another one that is one my list is noise level . When it is okay to be loud ie parks outside with other children and when they need to be quiet .

  19. Avatar of heps7 heps7 says:

    I will definitely make sure my son knows all of these things. I have a step son who is 11 and his mother has not done a very good job teaching him these things.

  20. Avatar of debbie debbie says:

    We dont see much of this, anymore.

  21. Avatar of debbie debbie says:

    We dont see much of this, anymore.

  22. Avatar of nicole nicole says:

    manners are important and i would just like to add to #9 what some people may view as flaws another may view as an opportunity to see uniqueness in every individual

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