Manners, a thing of the past?

Over the last few weeks I have noticed a general downturn in manners.  These aren’t just with children but with adults too and it made me wonder, what was always considered to be a basic british trait, is it now a thing of the past?

Example 1

In the play ground recently, I was pushing Zayn on the swings and a little girl, (about 3/4) nearly walked into the child on the next swing.  I managed to stop her from getting hurt. The little girl looked at me and carried on. I looked around for the parents and saw them watching.  There was no recognition that someone had helped their child from being hurt, they just turned away and carried on talking.

Example 2

Raihan was waiting for his turn in a queue to feed the lambs at an event, other parents were just pushing their children in left, right and centre.  Has no one heard of lining up anymore and waiting your turn?

These are two examples that happened in the last few weeks but this issue has irked me for some time and I think it really needs to be addressed.  Having traveled across a number of countries, manners/politness is often one thing that I really pick up on.  I think we need to focus on this with our children.

So I have decided to make a list of manners that I want my little adventurers to have.  They aren’t that complex or cumbersome that you feel that you are fighting a battle but just basic manners that all children (and adults) should have.  Plus, the sooner you make this a part of who they are, it’s just a way of life for them.

Say please and thank you

I think it’s imperative that these are drummed in from a young age. Not only is it polite but these simple words help to make the person helping feel appreciated. As the children get older the focus on why these are said as an acknowledgement that someone has done something to help you.  In addition, before asking for something, saying a simple please goes a long way.

I think an important aspect of this is to get the children to always say thank you after someone has done something nice for them, whether it was an invitation to a party, going around to someones house or receiving a present.  maya is now able to write properly so we intend to get her to write out thank you cards for her birthday party.  It doesn’t have to be anything cumbersome but my little adventurers at the moment like to send thank you message via voice calls.  I think these little gestures are fantastic and really help to make someone feel appreciated.

Saying no, thank you

I want my children to know that its ok to say no.  In some situations, saying no will not have the desired effect (ie. not eating vegetables) but in most situations, when you turn someones offer down, it will usually be respected.  But by adding a few simple words, you can say no, in a politer manner

opening doorAlways holding the door open for others

Chivalry is a fantastic trait but I want my adventurers to do this for everyone. Not just holding doors open for ladies or elderly people (though that’s lovely too) but doors should be held open for everyone following you.  As you walk through the door, just a quick look around to see if anyone is following and if so, just hold the door open.

If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all

This is my mantra.  I think as a nation we have become very quick in providing our opinions on most things without often thinking if it is hurtful/unkind or if its is necessary. I’m all for constructive criticism but there’s a time and place for it.  I was brought up with this idea and i think if we all followed it, the world be a much nicer place.

Treat others how you want to be treated

This links into the above and I am not sure if its a manner / or just common sense politeness  but its an imperative principle that everyone should be brought up with.  This simple principle if followed would eradicate most of the world’s problems.  I think if we teach our children to be empathetic to other people’s feelings and needs, we will hopefully lead to nurturing the next generation of caring, well rounded adults.

Never interrupt, wait until you are spoken to.

This is a pet peeve of mine.  As much as I adore my little adventurers and the words that they want to share with me, waiting until you are spoken to and letting someone else finish their sentence are important virtues that children (and some adults) should have.  Maya learnt to interrupt me by saying “excuse me mummy…’ and then would just interrupt.  I mean its the politest way to interrupt but still….

knockingknock before you enter a room

This is such a simple thing to teach our children and I think is really useful.  Most people won’t mind you entering the room but the knock and pre warning people of your impending arrival can provide those vital seconds the people inside the room need (before anyone takes any rude connotations from this statement, i have been hiding toys etc from the children often but they just walk in to the room!).  Also, i think this is really important when your children visit other peoples homes.

sharingAlways ask if someone would like some too

I want my little adventurers to be helpful, kind and generous in everything they do.  If they decide to go and get something for themselves, I would want them to ask everyone else in the room if they would like it too.  I expect my children, if they have anything, to offer to share the with others in the room (within the limits of hygiene).  Sharing something can be a great way of making friends, ice breakers and help make amends with people you may have upset.  Doc is always my friend again after I share my chocolate with him

Leave things how you found them

I have had lots of friends/family members come around and play with the children.  After playing with the things, it really annoys me when the parents then just say, ok kids time to leave.  I want my children to learn that you tidy after yourselves.  Someone has been kind enough to let you into their home, and the least we can do is to try and leave their homes to a similar state as that we found it in.

If you have a guest, be kind and generous to them

Our little adventurers have been blessed with many relatives and friends and we love to have them around.  I try to teach the children that they should always go out of their war

Include everyone in all your games

Playground politics are horrible and if you are a child on the outside, its one of the most awful experiences that you can have.  I want my children to learn its good manners to include everyone, especially if threre is someone who is looking on and no one is asking them to join in and play.

queue1Learning to wait until its your turn and not pushing in

It is often hard to explain the concept of waiting for your turn and queuing especially in circumstances where people  are pushing in front of you.  But following the principle of “an eye for an eye, leaves the whole world blind”.  So teaching your children to wait and have some patience hopefully will mean that we have a more considerate and polite next generation.




I am a traveller, mother and blogger. We love to go on adventures (big and small, near and far) and strive to show our children how amazing and beautiful the world is! I caught the travel bug many moons ago and despite having three little adventurers, I still suffer from "itchy" feet. We love the great outdoors and one another. Come and join the fun :)

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4 Responses

  1. What a lovely post – I’m with you all the way on most of these points…I hold the door for everyone, I don’t care if it’s a 6 foot teenage boy or a little old lady, I just do it. rReuben at the age of 2 says please and thank you whether he likes it or not 🙂 there’s a few things that i definitely agree with that I hadn’t really thought about too, so it’s been really insightful! Playground politics in particular touched a nerve xx Thanks for linking up to #TheList!


    • nisbah says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. I think as parents its imperative that we actively try and drum these basic manners into our children from a young age. My youngest one says thanks mom to everything. it is too cute! Hope to link up next week too! 🙂

  2. becky says:

    Great post!

    God no manners really gets on my nerves! I went to my a kids party the other day and obviously the kids were argueing over toys (dont 2 and 3 year old’s always argue over toys?) Anyway, when we have guests, the guests get first choice, OR if someone else is playing with it you wait until they are done…end of conversation! Except at this party the mum seemed to thing if her daughter wanted a toy somebody else had, she could jut take it because a) it was her birthday and b) they were her toys! Its just horrific manners if you ask me! When we left I thanked them for having us all and asked each child what did they have to say, each child said thank you.


    Today they came to my house and well seeing as they seem to think their child shouldn’t have to share in their house you would think in someone else’s house they would tell their child off when they were snatching, yes? Ohhhhh NO! No no no…because apparantly my daughter was been a selfish brat for not letting her play with the toy she was playing with. How funny, such double standards. and at one point called my daughter a little shit when she snatched a toy from her child (again this was completely ok when her daughter did it the other day!)

    God this sounds totally cryptic without names doesnt it, I hope you understand what i mean ha ha!

    Oh and last point, I set up a whole Christmas play date today, I paid for all the activitys, a themed messy play, a whole themed lunch, I sat and made and effort with every child, for a whole 6 hours we were busy. Did I get a thank you for having us? Did they help tidy up before they left? Did they offer to wash the pots? DID THEY HECK! What they did though i sit on their phone’ internet for the whole 6 hours they were here. I was expecting maybe an Instagram or Facebook photo of the little girl having fun with a thank you on their….but no none of that either yet 🙁

    Sorry for the rant…felt good to get it out! 🙂 X

    • nisbah says:

      Oh no! Totally hear where you are coming from. I HATE double standards and it really annoys me when parents give their children mixed messages. Children need to told this is the way things are done and there are no exceptions.

      That’s a real shame about your play date. It’s happened to me too often. It actually upsets me that people think it’s normal and acceptable to behave in such a way.

      Big hugs to you! Chin up xxx

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