How to raise classy children

My top Etiquette rules for children.

Hello, Darling. Welcome to Gorgeous Life Blog. If you are new here, my name is Victoria. I talk about all things related to modern elegance and personal growth. Today I’m going to talk about etiquette rules for children.

Last year, my girls had a friend over for dinner. While everyone was eating, this friend started talking about something very, very repulsive. An unfortunate event in her life that should not have been discussed at the dinner table under any circumstances.

After she left, my husband and I were talking about how that should not have been brought up at the dinner table, and I think my husband finally understands why it is important to practice good etiquette with our kids. 

When I was a nanny, I remember getting all of the kids together and we would have etiquette classes. I would teach them basic manners that children should know, and we all practiced them together. 

Not all parents do this, or even think that it is important. Trust me on this one, good manners are always important. Raising classy children is easier and less intimidating than it sounds.

Teaching children good manners when they are young ensures that they will be well mannered children growing up. Other people will notice your children’s wonderful manners and compliment you. 

I have a modern elegance course for women, but I recently realized that I needed to share some tips for children as well! Let’s get into my non-negotiable etiquette tips that all children need to know.

etiquette rules for children

When should I start teaching my child etiquette?

Most parents start teaching their children etiquette as soon as they can speak. By learning how to use please and thank you, your child is already on the right path for learning more etiquette skills. 

There are different levels of etiquette to teach as the child grows. In the early stages, you are teaching very basic skills like saying please and thank you. As they get older, they will learn more skills such as how to write a thank you note. 

How can I make learning etiquette fun?

When I was a nanny, I looked after two children, plus my own two children. When I taught etiquette to them, they had fun because they were practicing with their friends. If you find yourself babysitting your friend’s child who is close in age with yours and need an activity for them, etiquette would be perfect.

Your child doesn’t need a friend to practice with, you can always make it fun by practicing with them and giving rewards at the end. 

Here’s my list of etiquette rules for children:

Your children should learn the magic words as early as possible.

  • Please
  • Thank you
  • No thank you
  • May I
  • Excuse me
  • Thank you for having me

Children should learn about privacy and their privacy should be respected.

This one is a bit controversial because many people have no problem with undressing their toddlers and young children in front of other people. I just witnessed it the other day actually. 

I personally believe that children are people and deserve the same amount of privacy as we do. Would you take off your clothes and walk around naked when you have company? 

I don’t think so.

Your child should be treated the same way. If you have a toddler or young child who need to change clothes, take them to a private room to do so. They should learn at an early age to have their privacy when changing.

Children should be dressed when they have company.

I once went to a person’s house who had a couple of sons. While I was there, one of their sons was lounging on the couch without a shirt on. It seems harmless to some, but it isn’t proper etiquette. 

If you have company, your children should be dressed. At least wearing a top and bottom. Unless they are swimming or playing outside in the water. It is also good for boys to learn early on how to present themselves in front of company.

Greeting etiquette: 

Children should learn how to properly greet someone. Sometimes your child might be shy, if that is the case then it’s okay.

  • Greet people by their name. Ask the person for their name if you don’t know it.
  • Make eye contact when greeting someone
  • Learn how to shake hands
  • Learn how to say nice to meet you, pleasure to meet you, the pleasure is mine, etc.

Children should learn respect for their elders.

In the past I’ve seen many children not respecting their elders. Climbing all over their grandparents, throwing toys and balls at them, clearly overwhelming them. I feel like respecting elders is lower on the list of etiquette rules for children.

Many parent’s excuse their children’s poor behavior with grandparents as them being ‘excited’. I believe that children should be taught to treat their grandparents with respect, to understand that sometimes grandparents don’t have the energy to roughhouse, and how to have calm behavior when their grandparents are around.

If their grandparents are young and full of energy, this might not apply to your family. But it is something I have noticed over the years so I figured I would put it in this list.

Respecting physical space.

Something that frustrates me is when a child hasn’t been taught physical space. Children should learn that everyone has a personal space bubble and that it is important to respect other people’s personal space bubble. 

Children should also learn that other people should respect their bubble as well. No getting up in someone’s face, no touching other people’s face, overall respecting personal space.

Dining etiquette

Dining etiquette is one of the first things I focused on with my children. This is because I was able to start this when they were very young. If you don’t practice dining etiquette while they are little, babies and toddlers might have a hard time at meal times.

Here are a couple of my tips for dining.

  • Sit at a proper table and eat as a family.
  • No distractions during meal times. (tv, tablet, etc.)
  • Talk to your child during meal times so they learn how to have conversation during meals.
  • Be seated during meal times. No running around the table.
  • Mouth closed when chewing.
  • No elbows on the table.
  • Don’t make a mess when eating.
  • How to properly hold utensils, and how to cut foods. 
  • Wipe your mouth with a napkin, not with sleeves or hands.
  • Don’t reach for something, ask someone to pass it.
  • Make sure your child knows about things that are appropriate to talk about at the table. Gruesome, gory, gross things are not appropriate for table talk.

A few more etiquette skills.

There are a few more things that didn’t have a category that I want to include here. These are things that I practiced with the kids when I was a nanny.

  • Knocking before entering a room.
  • Holding the door for someone.
  • Covering your mouth when coughing.
  • How to write a thank you note and when you should.
  • How to answer the phone.
  • Do not point or stare at people.
  • Do not interrupt an adult when they are speaking.
  • How to give a compliment

These are my non-negotiable etiquette rules for children. Once your children master these rules, they will be able to conduct themselves with class no matter where they go. I assure you that you will receive compliments on how polite and well mannered they are, and these manners will stick with them for life.

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