Raising Well-Mannered Children

Last week I talked about the importance of teaching our children good manners early on, and some things to remember while doing that.

Today I am sharing some basic social manners that children should be taught and prompted towards as they grow up and begin to understand instructions. Although my girls are too small to understand all of these yet, I still keep prompting my older daughter very gently (since my younger one’s only 3 months old) so that someday these will become a part of her personality and she won’t have to think before acting this way when she’s older or be told to do so either.

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One thing for us to understand is that there is a difference between etiquette and good manners. While etiquette is generally a code of behavior that should be followed, a protocol if you will, depending on different times and social settings we may be in, good manners are a consideration for others and our general behavior towards them in all settings.

Here are some basic good manners that I believe are important for our children to learn and implement (and for us to show them) whether inside their homes or outside:

  • Stand up to show respect: Stand up to say hello, to say goodbye, or to talk to someone who is standing while you sit. Acknowledge anyone who enters or exits the house by standing up and saying hello, or goodbye at the door. In our house, this means saying ‘salaam’ when someone comes in, and ‘Allah hafiz’ when they leave, including their parents.
  • Offer your seat to others: If you see someone older than you standing without a place to sit, stand up and offer your seat to them. Do this with anyone who may seem like they need a seat more than you.
  • Be considerate of people’s physical space: Move out of the way and make space for people- while you walk, on the stairs, or anywhere. Move out of the way, and don’t block anyone’s path. If someone’s in your path, don’t push or shove, say excuse me and they will make way for you.
  • Hold the door open: Do this for those very close behind you while you walk through a door, and rush to hold it open for someone ahead of you who may be struggling with it- may be someone who’s older, in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, or holding a baby.
  • Do not interrupt anyone while they’re talking: Always stand by, say excuse me once, and then wait for them to turn to you and talk to you.
  • Respect people’s belongings: Do not take anyone’s toys, books, or things without asking permission and hearing a ‘yes’.
  • Knock: Always knock and wait for an answer before entering a room.
  • Address your elders with their proper titles: Don’t just start using their first names. Use Mr. or Ms., or whatever titles your parents teach you to call them by. In a desi household, this may very well include using what we call ‘aap janaab’- aap le lijiye, aap kar dijiye.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze: Not only is it rude to cough or sneeze in people’s faces, it is also unhygienic.
  • Be willing to help others out: If someone asks you for some help, or looks like they need help, and it is within your capacity to be able to do it, do it. Get someone a glass of water, hand them their bag, pick up something they may have dropped.
  • Let others sleep: If someone’s asleep, make as little noise as possible around them, and make sure you do not disturb them.

What, according to you, are some important basics to teach children to take care of in social settings and even at home?

Come back next week for dinner table manners to teach children and, of course, take care of ourselves too because, hey, we’re their role models, aren’t we?!

Disclaimer:  I am no parenting expert. Just a mother who is learning on the job and trying to incorporate into my parenting, whenever applicable, what I saw my parents do, and what I have learned from other parents too. 🙂

20 thoughts on “Raising Well-Mannered Children

  1. It’s true! It’s so important to teach our little ones all these manners from a young age, because however insignificant they might look right now, when they get older these things matter a lot. I’ve heard people say. “Choro waqt k saath bachay khud hi seekh jatay hain” but I feel it’s vital to teach them all of this. When older, these little things can be of great importance to gain respect.

  2. These seem so trivial, but are of the utmost importance! Unfortunately some parents forget just how important they. 🙁 I know that I shall try my hardest to adhere to this if I do have kids. x

  3. I don’t remember being actively taught any of this as a child, but somehow I do all of this since a young age. Maybe my parents taught it to me but I don’t remember being lectured about it. They do tell me how they reminded my toddler self every time at the beginning of a grocery shopping session how to behave in the store, and I would repeat after them. “No running around” and all that stuff. Maybe that was how I picked up all the other things too. It’s only when I came up against people who point out that I say “please” and “thank you” that I became aware that I did. It was pretty much automatic for me.
    So I really appreciate you blogging about this, as I’ve seen that for most people this is something of an acquired training and not something they got naturally while growing up.

  4. Well mannered children grow up to become well mannered adults insha Allah. It’s part of our beautiful deen that we raise our children with ihsan sis so masha Allah on the article. My youngest is 1 and a half and I have another on the way and having manners is SUCH a big thing that I want to instill in both of them insha Allah.

  5. LOVE THIS POST! Most kids nowadays really have such bad manners and to think they’re the next generation, I hate the saying ‘kids will be kids’ it’s just as bad as saying “boys will be boys”. Lovely post, will be sharing it, InshaAllah may our children grow to be good and well mannered. (www.spicyfusionkitchen.com and http://www.beautywithzainy.com)

  6. This is so so important. Sadly the generation nowadays don’t care to do this especially in the West! What age did you start instilling some of these? My son is almost 4 and we do try to teach him many of these things but I wonder what is the appropriate age where they will really understand?

    1. I agree with you! Manners seem to be lost in today’s generation, in our home countries too, actually, not just the west! It’s sad!

      My older one is almost three now, and I keep telling her things depending on the situation. I’ve been doing this since I can remember. I feel like we don’t give enough credit to our kids. They may not look like they get it, but they do pick up on cues! It took a long time but it makes me really happy to see my daughter trying to do what I’ve been teaching her- like saying please and thank you, and asking before using others’ things or toys, or always using a placemat before eating, or not playing with the cutlery at restaurants (this needs constant nagging, though, haha). Hope this helps!

  7. Salam! Been trying to write a reply for a few days but kept getting errors, anyway today seems to be working, yay!
    I Soooooo agree with the methods here, I firstly need to implement much more into the teaching of my children when it comes to manners…. I foolishly assumed my kids would follow by example… but that’s simply not enough… currently dealing with a moody 15 yr old & a defiant 5 yr old…. Should have introduced some more stricter rules like my parents did & not opted to try & be the mum my mother wasn’t (we were never the best of friends) lol so now I’m struggling with behaviour & manner issues!!
    JazakAllah khair for this post! Will most definitely be bringing these manners into their every day life! I cannot expect children to just “pick up” manners… needs to be taught from early on.

    1. You’re right, sis! I have noticed that prompting them and showing them go hand in hand! One without the other isn’t very helpful! But yes, it may sometimes seem like they aren’t picking anything we may be showing them or asking them to do, but believe me, down the line, they realise how important some things their parents taught them were! It happened with me! I realised the importance of so many things my parents tried to teach me only after I was out in the real world! 🙂

  8. I really am enjoying all your posts! It’s so hard to inculcate these habits but if we do right from the start it woudl definitely help.
    Holding the door, is something I follow too. Knocking on the room too.

  9. Training kids “Good Manners” is the most important duty of not only the parents. But, it is also the very important duty of all elders of that family. Also, every one living in the society has to play his role in this regards.

    This article contains very good information about this issue.

    Well Done. Keep up the Great Work !!!!!!


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