Mind Your Manners


Having 3 girls, ages 11, 10, 6, it seems as if our house has a revolving door with endless children coming in and out of it. I grew up in a home that had six family members–me and my brothers were all teens at the same time.  My house growing up was  very similar to ours now in that we always had at least one extra person around. I loved it. I loved sharing my family with others, and I feel the same way today.

I have noticed that my girls’ friends fall into two categories, generally speaking. One category of children is the independent, well-mannered, well-behaved child, and the other category is the dependant, bad-mannered, usually badly-behaved child. There are some that fall in-between, but generally speaking, kids have manners, or they don’t.

When a six or seven year old friend enters my home and demands, “Make me a snack”, or when they are going outside to play, “Get my shoes on me “, I know I am in for a long day. I don’t enjoy correcting children when they don’t say their please and thank-you’s ”. It is so much more enjoyable to have a child over who is respectful and courteous, helpful and kind.

Of course no child is perfect, but there are some general guidelines I have taught my children about being a good house guest.

1. You can never say “thank you” enough to your friends’ parents.

2. Make yourself useful. Clear your own dishes and ask if you can help clear the table after a meal.

3. Obey the parents’ wishes without complaining.

4. Be on your best behavior so your friends’ parents will want you as a guest again.

5. Be responsible to pack up your own belongings when the play date is over.

6. Leave your friends’ room nicer than it was when you came.

7. Compliment your friends’ Mom or Dad on the wonderful meal they made for you.

8. Ask the parents how you can help them.

9. Be fair and kind to your friend.

10. Know your Mom and Dad’s cell phone number and home phone number in case your friends’ parents need to contact them.

I know this list seems basic. I cannot tell you how much it helps me have a great attitude about a play date if I know they will do most, or even just some of these things. These are the friends that I will let come over again and again with a happy and joyful heart.

photo by Brittiani Renee

6 thoughts on “Mind Your Manners

  1. Kathy Friend says:

    One word…AMEN! Although I haven’t been a Mom for very long, I too have seen that kids seem to fall into one of those categories.

    Here is a question for you – when you have a child at your house playing…and they do something wrong. For example – blatant lying, or telling your child “let’s do X and not tell our parents” – or even one child decided to run up to my husband, and start punching him in the stomach and laughing…and wouldn’t stop. Do you tell the child’s mother and father?

    …and I hope that when my daughter is at your house, she is the polite well mannered kind (and if she isn’t TELL ME!)

    • mdwegner says:

      Karen, you have taught your kids well! I think they have taught my kids manners. 🙂

    • mdwegner says:

      Kathy, Anya has lovely manners. If a kid were that aggressive and disobedient, I would talk to the parents. I really don’t “tell on kids” unless I feel its something I can not handle on my own. If the behavior is just rudeness, I usually point it out to the kid, and more often than not, they change. I just say stuff like, “we don’t do that here”, and it works!

  2. Karen says:

    Can I add a couple more? It’s the first rule for our children.
    Always behave better at a friends house than you do at home.
    Remember to say thank you to your friend’s parent when you leave, thanking them for having you over.

  3. This is such a great list, Michelle! When your girls get older and start to babysit, remind them of this list–especially the one about leaving the house in better shape than how they found it. I have ingrained that into my girls’ minds and always ask when they get home, “Did you clean up?” They roll their eyes and say yes, but they don’t know yet how important (and wonderful) it is for a mom to come home to a cleaned-up house and NO DIRTY DISHES in the sink. 🙂

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