12 Rules of Etiquette For Children: Timeless Wisdom Collection

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Picture of Child - Tipnut.comHere are some etiquette “rules” or “suggestions” addressed to children from the 1950s that I found on a loose sheet from an old handbook, I thought they were interesting to share.

Considering that these were standard expectations just 50 years ago, it’s a reminder of how fast things can change.

Children In The Home

  1. Always greet the members of your family when you enter and always bid them goodbye when you leave.
  2. Always rise to a standing position when visitors enter, and greet them after your elders.
  3. Never address a visitor until he has started the conversation unless he is a person of your own age or younger.
  4. Never interrupt a conversation. Wait until the party talking has finished.
  5. Always rise when your visitor or your elders stand.
  6. Never let your mother or your father bring you a chair or get one for themselves. Wait on them instead of being waited on.
  7. If you leave or cross the room you should say “Excuse me.”
  8. If a visitor should say, “I am glad to have seen you,” you should say, “Thank you.”
  9. Never run up and down the stairs or across the room.
  10. Talk in a low, even voice. It denotes refinement.
  11. Always give way to the younger child. It is your duty to look after them instead of fretting them.
  12. Never retire without bidding the members of your family good night.

Follow these suggestions and you will assist in making the members of your family happy as well as in benefiting them in many other ways.

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Published: August 15, 2008

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3 Comments to “12 Rules of Etiquette For Children: Timeless Wisdom Collection”
  1. K says:

    Another suggestion is “Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers”. Cute book with pen and ink illustrations. A real throw-back for nice, polite-society manners!

  2. Chris says:

    I reblogged this with some added commentary. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ernie J says:

    Gotta be careful when evaluating these things, especially saying that these were “standard expectations”. Chances are, if it’s in a list like this, it’s something that your average kid isn’t doing, or isn’t doing consistently… if children were already doing it, why would anyone need to remind them that they ought to. These things tend to be descriptions of what (some) people feel is the ideal, rather than a reflection of actuality at that time. It’s how (some) folks wanted things to be, not how they were.

    Take item #3, for example, not speaking first to anyone who is not “your age or younger” — yes, it reflects an ideal etiquette that we no longer consider to be the ideal, but I seriously doubt that many young children would be able to follow it, and I imagine that very few households even wanted their kids to be that formal.

    Many of the others, however, are still considered “proper” behavior today — don’t interrupt, don’t ignore people, say “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, don’t run in the house, don’t yell, be tolerant of smaller siblings.

    Where our culture does seem to have changed is that (in my opinion) too many parents put their kids at the center of their lives, rather than expecting — or requiring — kids to be deferent to adults. We’ve lost the sense that childhood is a kind of training for adulthood, and it seems that too many teens (especially) have no concept of attempting to earn the respect of the adults around them, which was extremely important to us. To be considered “grown up” by adults was the ultimate compliment.

    That said, I’m kind of glad we don’t still expect everyone to stand when someone enters a room, although I have to confess I continued to stand for women who entered a room for years until it became actively frowned upon as sexist.

    And I’m saddened that thank-you notes have become unfashionable… I finally stopped sending them for Christmas gifts when I overheard some recipients complaining about them, saying, “What am I supposed to do, send a thank-you note for the thank-you note?”

    Times change.


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