Courtesy, politeness or having good manners are all about respecting others and yourself.
How would you feel if someone:
talked to your friend but turned his back to you?
pushed you out of the way to get the seat you were about to sit on?
let the door slam in your face as you were about to walk through it?
shared your things but never shared anything of theirs?
never said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’
didn’t pass your phone message to your friend?
Good manners is about considering the feelings of other people, and being the kind of person that others will like and respect.
In the ‘olden days’ children were taught about the Golden Rule – "Always do to others as you would wish them to do to you if you were in their place."
This is still a good way to behave nowadays. If you are respectful to others, then you are more likely to be treated with respect by them.
If you show good manners everywhere you go, then you are more likely to encourage others to behave in the same way towards you.
Look at the following ideas from kids and see if you can think why they chose these examples of good manners.
What good manners look like at home
• being helpful to others in your home
• saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
• sharing and not grabbing and keeping good things to yourself
• respecting other people’s property and their rooms
• helping the family by doing your chores
• cleaning up after yourself.
Manners at school
saying good morning/afternoon if you are walking past an adult who you know
asking if you can borrow something, not just taking
returning things that you have borrowed
waiting your turn before you speak
saying ‘excuse me,’ rather than pushing past someone
holding the door open for the person coming in, especially if he is carrying something
respecting your own and other people’s property, especially school property
saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
When you are out
If you are out with other kids…
Respect other people.
Be polite to others.
Don’t use bad language in public – it is offensive to others.
Let an older person have your seat on buses, trains and trams if there is nowhere for them to sit.
Queue up quietly and don’t push.
Put your rubbish into bins, don’t leave it for someone else to clean up.
Have fun but don’t be so loud that you attract the wrong kind of attention.
Don’t make fun of anyone – everyone has feelings.
Don’t run in shopping centres or where there are other people.
If you are out with your parents or other adults…
Use your good manners so that you don’t embarrass anyone.
Introduce any friends you meet to the people you are with.
Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
Don’t be a ‘canna’. ("canna have this?" and "canna have that?")
At the table
• Use your knife to cut and your fork to put the food in your mouth.
• Chew food with your mouth closed.
• Ask for things to be passed to you, don’t lean over the table.
• If you need to blow your nose, excuse yourself and go out of the room first.
• Don’t grab everything you want first – help others to get their food and be prepared to share.
• Don’t talk with your mouth full. It is not a good look!
On the phone
If you have to answer the phone, there are 3 important things to remember:
1. Say your telephone number and who you are, eg. ‘Jane speaking.’
2. Never say, "Mum/Dad, or any other adult you live with, is out".
Say "—– can’t come to the phone right now – may I take a message?"
You don’t know whether the person on the other end of the phone is a would-be burglar, so you need to keep yourself safe. Don’t give out any other information. The caller doesn’t need to know if mum is in the bathroom or whatever!
3. Always write down messages including phone numbers and organise with your family where the messages are to be put, eg. by the phone or on the fridge. The person who gets the message can choose whether or not to phone back, but it is good manners to let them know that they have a message anyway.
When you are using a phone
Negotiate with your family for length of time on the phone so that one person doesn’t use the phone for hours, making it difficult for anyone else to use it. This is especially important if your internet access uses the same line.
If you have a mobile, don’t text or call someone when you’re with a friend unless you first ask if your friend minds.
If you get a call, say "excuse me" and move away from others to answer it, then make it a quick call. (How would you feel if you were just standing around while your friend was chatting away?)