kids

Children’s Etiquette: Eight Polite Habits We Miss Today

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

When I was growing up, it seemed like every child I knew was raised to respect elders and mind their p’s and q’s.

Maybe I’m just looking back on things with the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, but I know I can’t be the only one who thinks that kids seemed to have much better manners “back in the day.”

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of little ones today with perfectly exquisite manners, like this sweet little girl who collected all of her spare change to give to charity.

It’s just that, nowadays, well-behaved kids seem outnumbered by kids who are just running wild, and whose parents let themselves be walked all over.

It’s not that it’s bad parenting necessarily — there are certainly lots of great things about contemporary parenting. It’s just that today’s parents might want to consider taking a few tips from the “olden days,” and incorporating them into the next generation’s rulebook!

Scroll through the gallery below to see which important pieces of etiquette we’d like to see make a comeback!

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr

Polite Habit #1: Show Adults Respect

Polite Habit #1: Show Adults Respect
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

When I was growing up, you stood up the second an adult entered the room.

It didn’t matter what you were doing; you hopped up, you were attentive, and you spoke when spoken to.

Sir and Ma’am were practically mandatory as a symbol of respect for your elders.

Polite Habit #2: No Running In The House

Polite Habit #2: No Running In The House
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Running in the house was absolutely not allowed. You were expected to walk, and be careful of your surroundings.

If you were “full of beans,” as my mom would say, you could go and run around outside.

Better yet, you could put that energy to good use and hang some laundry or pull some weeds!

Polite Habit #3: Give Up Your Seat

Polite Habit #3: Give Up Your Seat
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

If you were sitting on the bus, or just in the comfy seat in the living room, and an adult came into the room, you were expected to offer your seat straightaway.

After all, you have young legs. Might as well put them to good use.

You would certainly never sit idly by while somebody elderly, injured, or pregnant had to stand.

Polite Habit #4: Don't Interrupt

Polite Habit #4: Don't Interrupt
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

When adults were in conversation, you absolutely never interrupted.

You adhered to the rule that children should be seen and not heard, and don’t offer your opinion unless you were asked first.

If something was really, really urgent, you might wait for a natural pause and then say, “Excuse me, Mom…”

Polite Habit #5: Use Your 'Indoor' Voice

Polite Habit #5: Use Your 'Indoor' Voice
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Shouting was a serious no-no, especially in the house.

Outside during playtime, you could holler and cackle as much as you wanted.

The expectation, of course, was that playtime was the outlet, and the rest of the time, you had to use your ‘indoor’ voice in any kind of social setting.

Polite Habit #6: Offer A Helping Hand

Polite Habit #6: Offer A Helping Hand
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Back in the day, boys and girls were raised to always pitch in whenever they had a chance.

In your own house, that might mean standing up to clear the dishes without being asked or taking out the trash.

In the wider world, it meant helping neighbors with their groceries, keeping an eye out for friends and older folks, and generally being a helpful presence in your community.

Polite Habit #7: Clean Your Plate

Polite Habit #7: Clean Your Plate
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

You were raised to eat every morsel on your plate, whether you cared for it or not.

There was no such thing as a picky eater; even if you didn’t like what was served, you knew you would go hungry if you didn’t eat up.

Besides, Mom and Dad impressed from an early age that every last sprout and spud was a blessing, and it would be shameful to waste your food.

Polite Habit #8: Carry A Clean Hankie

Polite Habit #8: Carry A Clean Hankie
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

OK, maybe this one deserves a modern update: Always carry a clean pack of tissues.

Kids have a tendency to get into scrapes or get the sniffles. It’s always a good idea to have the necessary materials on hand to make yourself presentable again.

Besides, everyone appreciates a prepared child who can offer a hanky to a friend in a pinch.

Which of these old-fashioned habits do you remember best? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to SHARE so your friends can weigh in on which manners they’d like to see come back!