Applied Theology
by WordExplain

A Potpourri of Biblical and Practical Perspectives
on a Variety of Topics . . .

"A time to be silent and a time to speak." Ecclesiastes 3:7

Parenting Q&A
Teaching Good Manners

by Christa Bartsch

March, 2008 

Q:  How do you feel about manners and when to start teaching them to children?

A: We feel it’s very important to teach children manners and to begin as soon as they are able to understand the little things.   Table manners have been a part of meal time at our home from the beginning because we were raised that way and we feel it’s very important to teach children to act appropriately in our home and in others’ homes.  Even if you wouldn’t require certain behaviors from your children at meal time when it’s just your family at home, there will come a day when you’ll want them to be able to sit nicely and act politely at someone else’s table.   They will also thank you for teaching them these things once they’re out of the house, on their own, eating at a nice restaurant with a special someone!  So, let’s all do our children and ourselves a favor and train them to be polite in various situations!


Here is a list of manners regarding meal time:

1.  Sit up nicely (no slumping over your  plate or table).

2.  Keep your feet on the floor, and don’t lean your chair back.

3.  Wait until everyone is at the table and have prayed before beginning to fill your plate.

4.  Pass serving dishes to each other, don’t reach over someone to get what you need.

5.   When passing something to someone, put your fork down to politely pass it.

6.   Don’t talk with your mouth full.  (This is a hard one at our house!)

7.   When you’re done, say, “May I be excused?” (Younger ones say, “Can I be done?”)

8.   Clear your own dishes and say, “Thanks for supper, Mom.” (or Grandma or whoever)


Here is a list of just miscellaneous manners to teach children:

1.  Hold the door for someone following you through a door. (Boys, especially, stand to the side and let others go in first to practice gentlemanly manners.)

2.   Have them thank their Sunday School teacher as they’re leaving their class each Sunday.

3.   Observe the obvious “please” and “thank you” rule.

4.   Train them to use more gracious terms for using the restroom.

5.   When they are a guest at someone else’s home, they should wait until something is offered to them (such as snacks, supper etc.) instead of asking for it.


I hope this is helpful!  We work on all these things with our children but not in a stiff, cold way.  You can teach your children to be polite and be comfortable with manners without taking the fun out of life!  Enjoy your family as you teach them to feel confident in knowing how to act in situations they may be put in!


by Christa Bartsch

March, 2008

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About the Author:  Christa Bartsch is a stay-at-home mom who lives in the rural Midwest.  She has led seminar workshops for women on marriage and parenting.  She has been happily married for fifteen years and is the mother of five children.  She also sings on the worship team at her church.

WordExplain by James T. Bartsch

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  Used by Permission.)

Published February 18, 2008

Updated March 28, 2014

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