Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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Helping children become good guests


Part of growing up is making mistakes and learning from them.

Here are some manners mistakes children commonly make while a guest at someone else’s home, and my suggestions on how to help your child with them.

Not waiting to be invited in. A lot of children knock or ring the doorbell too many times, and then, when the door is open, they barge in. Ask your child to be patient while waiting at the door.

Not asking where to go. Children get excited about being at a relative’s or a friend’s house — especially if it is a new place to them — and often run straight to their friend’s room, the backyard, etc. Remind your child not to wander around someone’s house. He should wait for his friend or an adult host to instruct him where he is welcome to go. Especially do not open any closed doors.

Asking for food and drink. Wait for food or drink to be offered. Refrain from asking for those delicious cookies that your hostess made last time. Of course, nothing is wrong with asking for a glass of water, but otherwise, wait. Also, even if you’re at Grandma’s house, never go into a pantry or refrigerator unless invited.

Not offering to help with any of the day's preparations. Offer to carry out the snacks, set up a game, or set and clear the table for a meal. A hostess always loves help, so knowing how to set a table is so appreciated. Asking to help with the dishes after dinner is even better.

Polite Phrases Should be Heard More Often

 Have you ever been in line at a store and proud to hear a fellow customer be patient, kind, and continue to be polite even after things are not quite going his way?  Even though the sales associate is new and had to ring up his merchandise several times, the person continues to smile and tell them no problem.  The customer finally gets finished and apologizes to you for having to wait, even though it was not even his fault.  Unfortunately we do not see and hear this often enough.  Typically we want melt into the background because of how rude a customer is acting.  It is even worse when they do it in front of their children.  You know these kids are probably the ones acting disrespectful in their word choices to their teachers and friend’s parents.People are not as respectful with their words as they used to be.  We teach our children from birth to say please and thank you, but then turn around and forget to do it ourselves.  When someone bumps into you, you should expect to get an “excuse me,” but often do not.  Children who use the word “mam” after saying yes or no always impress me.  It sounds so much more respectful than the typical “yah” that you get from most kids.   

Your tone of voice can also make or brake how polite and respectful you sound.  I have one child when he was young who knew the right words to use, but would just blow it with his tone of voice.  If you do not have a polite tone in your voice, you may as well forget trying to sound polite at all. 

Next time you hear a stranger say something polite, be sure to acknowledge it with saying something back or at least a big smile.  When children use polite words I always thank them for their good manners.  Any kind of positive affirmation should help them to continue being polite.


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