Raising Your Child to Have Good Manners

Consistency is key to instilling good manners in children.
Consistency is key to instilling good manners in children.

And don't forget good table manners. Kids have a hard enough time remembering household rules. They have an even harder time remembering rules for dinner at home and rules for dinner out, when those sets of rules aren't the same. Some general table manners include no gross jokes, no throwing food, no leaning back while sitting in the chairs, no talking with food in your mouth (including no "see food" jokes)—and definitely no loud belching or passing wind.

Yes, in some cultures belching after a meal is acceptable and even encouraged. However, don't let someone's excuse about practicing multiculturalism sway you. If belching isn't allowed in your family's culture, don't allow it at the table. And if you do happen to burp (and who doesn't?), say, "Excuse me." If you laugh about burping, you've created a family precedent, and your kids will belch and laugh about it the first time they have dinner at a friend's house.

Good manners that you can teach your children include not interrupting people while they talk and not shoving their way in front of others to always be first, two things that kids are infamous for doing.

Other manners you can teach your children include how to:

  • Write thank-you notes
  • Make get-well cards for sick relatives
  • Say please and thank you
  • Acknowledge when someone is talking
  • Say good-bye to someone who is leaving
  • Share cookies with a friend
  • Always give their parents the green M&Ms