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There are hundreds of little situations that we can consciously work with our children on. Role play together. Many of these will be learned from watching you in daily life, but there are always times when specific instruction is desirable.

Here are some ideas:

  • How to address an adult (Mr and Mrs Last Name until given permission to use first name; ma’am or sir if the name is unknown. Not ‘hey’, ‘lady’, or ‘guy’)
  • Giving directions
  • How to give a firm hand shake
  • How to apologize
  • How to borrow, and return things in better condition. What to do if something is broken while borrowed.
  • How to handle ‘gas’ in polite company (your own or someone else’s)
  • Inappropriate touch
  • Protecting others (from bullying, from danger, etc)
  • What to do if a friend is hurt while playing
  • Sitting and standing tall
  • Accepting a compliment
  • Giving a compliment
  • Playing with friends who don’t know each other (including both of them, not ignoring one so he/she feels left out)
  • How to handle a bully
  • Changing the subject politely
  • Not pointing out others’ poor manners
  • Introducing people (introduce the most important person first)
  • What to do if you forget someone’s name (hint: not ‘hey, you!’)
  • Interacting with a group
  • Placing a telephone call
  • Taking a message
  • Ending a call or a visit
  • Answering none-of-your-business questions
  • What to do if you don’t like a dish served at home, at a friend’s, or at a restaurant
  • Table manners
  • How to treat a salesperson
  • How to handle verbal invitations (“Thank you so much for inviting me.  I’ll need to check with my parents first” and making sure the other child’s parent is aware an invitation was extended)
  • Declining an invitation politely
  • Accepting unsolicited gifts from non-family members (not related to an event like a birthday, but an out-of-the-blue gift.  This can be a sticky situation for teens, in particular, especially when one is looking at the other romantically)
  • Being a good winner and loser (not gloating or sulking)
  • Relating to people with disabilities
  • Receiving gifts of differing values, and receiving several at once (as at a birthday) of which some are better liked than others
  • Making eye contact
  • Bathroom etiquette (a polite person does not hear noises from the bathroom, or smell odors therein)
  • Answering the door to strangers
  • Holding the door for someone
  • Interacting with police officers