Teaching kids about manners isn’t the most fun thing that you will encounter as a parent. No one likes to nag, but it’s worth putting in some effort to teaching manners because if your kids have good manners, adults will be nicer to them, and they will know how to speak and be respectful to others. You can send them off into the world, knowing that they will know how to behave in different social situations. So in the interest of making the world a friendlier, happier place, we have rounded up lots of good books, apps, videos, and cards that will help you teach your kids the manners they need to know.
Manners Cards for Kids
An easy way to get children familiar with what is polite and not polite would be to try out a few manners cards:
- Happy Mini Manners Card Set has 42 good manners mini card with helpful phrases/reminders & matching peek-a-play characters that say things like knock on the door, do not tease, say excuse me, love your family, listen to others, etc.
- Good Manners FlashCards is a set of 15 cards that remind kids to love your family, wash your hands, be kind, say thank you, etc.
- Golly Gee-pers is a fun and easy table manners game to help encourage good manners.
Manners DVDs for Kids
- Mind Your Manners (ages 5-12) teaches kids the benefit of good manners. Using adults to serve as the “bad examples,” the lessons provide kids with the proper etiquette they need to be successful in life in a variety of circumstances, from dining at the table to cleaning up after themselves.
- What Every Kid Should Know About Manners and Etiquette is a 60 minute, three-part video program where kids teach kids using humor, songs, funny costumes, and situations in which kids often find themselves. This video teaches children how to treat others with respect and shows them that the world is a much nicer place when we follow the simple rules of manners and etiquette.
- The Etiquette Factory has a 12-week program that includes a DVD that is designed for homeschool, pre-school, or any elementary classroom setting.
The Best Books to Teach Kids Manners
There are A LOT of manners books aimed at kids, so we decided to research all the reviews, comments, and recommendations on what books are the best manners books for kids. Since there are so many books to choose from, we are listing our top ten books.
- What Do You Say, Dear? It is a whimsical guide to manners that uses absurd situations and funny illustrations to help teach kids everyday social behavior.
- Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons is a kind of dictionary that defines mysteries such as “fair” and “unfair” and what it means to “cooperate by using examples having to do with cookies.
- Manners Can Be Fun by Munro Leaf has stick figure drawings and a brief text that tells why good manners are essential and how to have good manners at home, at play, and on visits.
- How to Behave and Why also by Munro Leaf talks about the four main things (be honest, fair, strong, and wise) that you have to do if you want to make good friends and keep them.
- Dude, That’s Rude! has cartoons and kid-friendly text that teaches the basics of polite behavior in all kinds of situations—at home, at school, in the bathroom, on the phone, at the mall, and more. Our eight-year-old kid tester was laughing out loud while reading this book.
- Excuse Me! Teaches toddlers the ABC’s of “polite behavior” in a gentle and funny way.
- socialsklz(Social Skills) for Success: How to Give Children the Skills They Need to Thrive in the Modern World is a new book that we recently came across that is great for kids who are growing up in a digital age.
- Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners for K-Grade 3 reminds kids of common polite phrases to use, such as please and thank you. It also talks about circumstances children will recognize: interrupting, forgetting to clean up after yourself, and not saying you’re sorry. The author outlines good manners for different situations: table, movies, and theater, sports, elevator, etc.
- Everyday Graces: Child’s Book Of Good Manners uses stories and poems under headings like “Honor Your Mother and Father,” “Please and Thank You,” “No Hurtful Words,” “Good Behavior in Sport,” and “Showing Respect for Country”.
- How Rude!: The Teenagers’ Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out teaches teens how to be a good host and guest, what to do (and not do) when going online or waiting in line, how to deal with rude relatives, how to act at the mall and the concert hall, how to make introductions, who invented manners, and much more. Hundreds of “Dear Alex” questions and answers cover everything from dating to breaking up, thank-you notes to table manners, ethnic jokes to social cliques, skateboarding to celebrating.
Books to Help Teach Kids Table Manners
Table manners are an incredibly difficult skill to develop, so here are some of the best table manner books for kids:
- The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners this book is mostly is about good manners in general, but there is quite a lot about table manners in the story. It’s a fun and easy way to get your kids thinking about manners.
- You’ve Got Manners!: Table Tips from A to Z for Kids of All Ages (You’ve Got Manners series) This guide to proper behavior at the dinner table provides an introduction to etiquette for kids and a refresher in manners for adults. Offering three tips for each letter of the alphabet, kids are asked to examine the factors that contribute to proper form.
- Emily Post’s Table Manners for Kids goes in-depth about table manners answering questions like which fork do I use? How do you use chopsticks? Is it okay to answer my cell phone during dinner? What is the polite way to eat spaghetti? Pretty much everything you need to know to get you through any meal is here—from table settings to eating tricky foods, to holding up your end of a dinner conversation.
- How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? (Book & CD) just like kids, dinosaurs have a difficult time learning to behave at the table. However, with a little help from Mom and Dad, these young dinosaurs eat all before them with smiles and goodwill.
- Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers Written by Walter Hoving, former chairman of Tiffany’s of New York, it is a step-by-step introduction to all the basics, from the moment the meal begins (“It is customary for the young man to help the young lady on his right to be seated”) to the time it ends (“Remember that a dinner party is not a funeral, nor has your hostess invited you because she thinks you are in dire need of food. You’re there to be entertaining”). In addition to the essentials about silverware, service, and sociability, it includes many of the fine points, too—the correct way to hold a fish fork, how to eat an artichoke properly, and, best of all, how to be a gracious dining companion.
- Soup Should Be Seen, Not Heard! A Complete Manners Book for Kids teaches kids how to politely handle introductions, telephones and cell phones, dining, partying, writing notes, e-messaging, dressing, and more, all in a lighthearted tone that appeals to both boys and girls four-years-old and up.
Best Apps to Help Teach Kids Manners
There aren’t many apps to teach kids manners, but here are a few that we found that look good:
- A Quest for Good Manners is an interactive storybook that teaches kids the secret to good manners is kindness and consideration.
- Maddie & Matt’s A to Z’s of Good Manners & Values is an interactive storybook showing Maddie and Matt exhibiting good manners and values.
- Good Manners for ages 3-7 is a mini book where kids watch characters at dinner, the playground, and the classroom as they learn sharing, kindness, and respect.