How To Teach Your Kids Old-Fashioned Manners

It goes without saying that our children are growing up in times far different from when we were raised. And the comparison between our children’s youth and our own parents’ is so polar opposite you’d think it was centuries ago.

One thing that will never go out of style no matter what year it is…manners!

It’s our jobs as mothers to instill this politeness and etiquette in our children, so they can blossom into classy adults and hopefully, someday, imprint the same positive behaviors, strong values and clear morals onto their own children.

If you’d like to teach your children some classic old-fashioned manners, keep reading to learn recommendations from real mamas just like you!

Practice the Basics, and Make Them a Strict Habit

There are several short and impactful phrases that make a deep impact when spoken—especially when they’re heard on a regular basis from a child. Make it a habit to encourage—and then expect—your children to use common phrases such as: “please”, “thank you”, “no thank you”, and “you’re welcome”. Kids often learn best by example, so be that example for them at home and even when you’re out in public to show them the value of these words and the positive impact in which they have. Some other words that should be incorporated into your child’s old-fashioned manner vocabulary are: “excuse me”, “pardon me”, and “may I” when requesting something from someone else.

Make Eye-Contact a Must

Eye-contact when speaking to another person is a trait that even many adults are poor at. And using an excuse of “being shy” isn’t going to work. By making direct eye-contact when speaking, it shows you’re engaged in the conversation and you’re making a respectful effort to show that person you’re having a discussion with that you’re giving them you’re undivided attention. All too often, kids will look away when speaking to another person, especially an elder. Encourage your children to always make direct eye contact when speaking to someone, as well as when someone is speaking to them. It’s a great way to boost self-confidence and self-worth, and adults will take notice of your child’s good manners when they do so!

Teach Your Child to Hold the Door

If you live in a super busy city, this one might be harder to do, but it’s important for children to understand to wait their turn—as well as to not slam or shut a door in a person’s face before they enter it. This chivalrous act is an attention-grabber, and adults will always notice when a polite child holds the door or patiently waits for their turn to enter one.

Teach Your Child Not to Interrupt Others

This is a bad habit that even many adults are guilty of. But teaching your child not to interrupt is crucial. This is not only practicing good manners, but it’s also key to allowing the person you’re conversing with to know their thoughts matter and that you’re not just eager to speak again—or speak over them. Teach your children that they must wait their turn when speaking, and remind them of how they’d feel should someone talk over them when they are speaking. You can practice this at home, and if you notice they are trying to interrupt you or their siblings, gently remind them not to interrupt and reassure them that they will get their chance to talk shortly.

Table Manners are Essential

When a child is eating, if they are practicing good manners, they will sit upright with their napkin in their lap, they will not chew with their mouths open, they will not talk to others with food in their mouth, they will use their utensils properly, and they will not slurp or blow bubbles in their drinks. It’s important for children to understand how to use their inside voices when eating—especially in a public setting or at another’s home. You can show your kids these tips as young as toddler age, and as they grow older, remind them of their manners should their table manners slip up when eating. The earlier the better, and this will help them to act civilized while eating as they mature into adulthood.

And, if you have daughters, crossing your legs properly or sitting in a ladylike position at the table is an absolute must and should be taught from an early age. Remember, a true lady reveals nothing!

Teach Them Good Posture

Posture is such an important thing that many don’t stop to think about today. Not only will it help to keep your back from being sore as an adult, but it displays confidence. If you have daughters, you can practice fun experiments of walking straight and slowly around the house with a book balanced on their head—just like old-fashioned women used to do!

Remind Them Cursing is For Grownups

Even if you hardly ever utter a single curse word, chances are, your child will experiment with these colorful words as the temptation lingers in their budding minds. But, when these moments occur should we hear our children say these bold words, it often makes us cringe inside. Remind your children that these are grownup words and not the sort of language that a child should be using—especially with their peers or in public settings.

Teach Your Children to Write Thank You Notes

If your child receives a gift, say a birthday present at a party, it’s important for them to show gratitude for this. You can do this by purchasing your child some inexpensive stationary so that they can pen a thank you note to the person who gifted them their present. It’s a simple gesture that speaks volumes, and this teaches children to be grateful and sincerely express their gratitude towards others.

Teach Your Children to Address Others Properly

One thing that many teachers do not like is when a student responds with “yeah” and not “yes” to a request or question. It’s important as parents who want to instill old-fashioned manners in our kids that we teach our kiddos to say proper responses. Addressing adults as “sir” or “ma’am” is another great way to teach our kids to respect their elders, and sadly, you do not hear these words from kids often anymore. Make your kids’ manners a standout, and show them the importance of proper responses and greetings when speaking to adults, whether that be addressing family, friends, or teachers.

Remind Your Children That They Must Always Treat Others in a Way in Which They’d Want to be Treated

The way we treat others through our actions as well as speaking shows them that we respect them and value them as individuals. It’s crucial that we guide our children to treat others with respect, and we show this by not raising our voice, saying unkind things, or violating their personal space. It’s normal for children to have their moments when they are not at their best, just as adults will have these moments, too. But take these as opportunities to remind your children the importance of respecting others, and the negative effects it can have should we not do so.

Do you have any old-fashioned manners of your own that you’ve instilled in your kiddos that you know are making a difference in their everyday lives? We’d love to hear about them, leave us a comment and share below!


If you haven’t joined Single Mom Spot, please consider joining us today! We offer free subscriptions for single moms FOREVER. Single Mom Spot is an online community for single mothers to get connected, strengthened, inspired and equipped to live their best lives, right now. Read our Welcome Page here to learn more.


My name is Jenna and I am the founder of Single Mom Spot. I've been a single mom for almost 10 years now. I'm a Christian and mama to two kids that I love like crazy. I started this site because I know how difficult single motherhood can be...and also, how beautiful. I believe that single motherhood helped make me into the best version of myself as a woman and mom. My hope, is that through a connection point like Single Mom Spot, women can share their experiences and grow together. What an amazing thing if every single mom could live her best life as a woman and mother right now, in the middle of her most challenging life circumstance. How bold. How beautiful. How unforgettable. Thank you for reading and supporting Single Mom Spot.