My son has one very good friend who has impeccable manners. When he arrives at our house he always says hello and asks how I am. He is happy to stand and chat for a few minutes about whatever I may ask him. He never misses a please or thank you or goodbye. He always checks with me before doing something new. There is another friend of my son, that leaves the front door open every time, never says hello, never says please or thank you without some prompting and is generally very poor in the manners department. It's a stark contrast.
"Manners Maketh Man" so goes the quotation.
So, here's the list of Parents.com suggestions on what manners a child of 9 should be aware of.
- When asking for something, say "Please."
- When receiving something, say "Thank you."
- 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. (Why do my kids always want my attention when I am talking on the telephone!?)
- 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.
- When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.
- 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.
- Do not comment on other people's physical characteristics unless, of course, it's to compliment them, which is always welcome.
- When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.
- 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.
- Knock on closed doors -- and wait to see if there's a response -- before entering.
- When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.
- 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.
- Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant. (I must remember to say how 'boring and unpleasant' bad language is when my 11 year old throws out something in a fit or rage!)
- Don't call people mean names.
- Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.
- 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. (We've all been in this situation on occasion and struggled to stay awake!)
- If you bump into somebody, immediately say "Excuse me."
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don't pick your nose in public.
- As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.
- 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.
- When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.
- When someone helps you, say "thank you." That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teachers!
- Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.
- Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary. (And don't wipe you hands 'secretly' on your trousers under the table!)
- Don't reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.
I would add that good behavior at the table generally is mportant. This can be so trying right now with my own kids. They may be playing quietly and nicely, but as soon as they asked to sit down for dinner they start acting up, egging each other on, playing the clown! Aaahhh!
How do you think your kids are doing? Would you add or change any of the above? Are you working on different 'manners' that you feel are important too?