10 Manners Your Kid Should Know by Age 5

Image created by Jace Whatcott

Kids are never too young to learn manners. In fact, in a day and age when we are seeing more teenagers lacking in the manners department, it seems more important than ever that parents 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.

{ MORE: Mind Your 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.

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.

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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.

Image created by Jace Whatcott

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.

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.

{ MORE: Teach Your Kids to Apologize in 4 Easy Steps }

How to KNOCK on doors before entering

And this includes the bathroom while Mom is trying to take a poop in private.

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, they and should learn how to gently say “excuse me,” rather than insist on incessant tapping and saying “Mama, Mama, Mama.”

{ MORE: Teaching Kids to Cope with Test Anxiety }

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.

How to eat at the dinner table

OK, 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.

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 comments like these hurt feelings unnecessarily. It's not nice to make fun of people or point out their flaws.

Image created by Jace Whatcott

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 — a gift that will make them feel good about themselves and be well liked by others.

{ MORE: How Do You Measure a Mother? }

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

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What do you think?

10 Manners Your Kid Should Know by Age 5

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 (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. Kathi says:

    We often hear compliments regarding our 3 year old’s manners. She looks for opportunities to say please and, most of all, thank you. She uses ‘excuse me’ very appropriately and puts her face in her elbow when she coughs or sneezes. She says ‘bless you’ if you sneeze. She is very helpful with chores around the house and leading one of the blind adults who live in our house when we go shopping or other outings. She is super awesome about her manners because of two things, I think. The first one is that we model the manners we want to see and the second is that we simply expect it of her, reminding her if she forgets. With her amazing heart, she usually exceeds our expectations in the manners department every day!

    • Megan Klay says:

      That’s great to hear, Kathi! It’s so wonderful to hear compliments regarding your child’s behavior, rather than just looks. It sounds like you’re doing a great job!

  2. stephanie says:

    I would have enjoyed this more if it had actually been an article/post instead of an ad grab. There was no need to make this 10 pages.

  3. Ciarra says:

    I truly enjoyed this is think two other very important manners are pointing and starring. I’ve found not only at people but I dislike to see kidsome who see other kids with things they want such as candy stair at them or point. In my opinion pointing gives kids a reason to use there words less. If they are of talking age such as my son then I prefer he describe things. These manners listed above except the door thing my two year old already follows. I approve that saying them and staying with it even as early as a year is very effective. My son just turned five and as I stated my daughters two and knowing maneeds are the one thing I’ve greatly prided myself on as a mother cause I know with the it’s a nudge in the correct direction in life.


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