7 Basic Etiquette Rules for Kids Under 10

These seven etiquette rules will keep your little ones polite in every situation

From the table to the telephone to the playground, teaching your child manners can be overwhelming. But basic etiquette doesn't have to mean white gloves and pinky-up tea drinking. It's about teaching the basic social skills that will help your child succeed in school, with new friends, and later on in life, at their first job.
Give your kid the confidence to navigate his or her way in the social world, using our basic guide to good behavior for kids approaching age 10. 
1. Basic phone skills
Even in the digital age when our individual cell phones are on us at all times, teaching your child how to communicate on the phone is still important. When calling friend's houses, your child should be able to introduce themselves propery ("Hi, this is ____. May I speak with ___?"), and be able to take a message on the family phone when a family member is unavailable ("They're not available right now, may I take a message?") 
Also, teach your child how to leave a voicemail message. Who, what, where, when, and why. "Hi Sarah, it's Jane. It's Saturday afternoon at 3. I'm calling because I'd like to know if you can come over on Monday after school. Call me back at ____ and let me know. Thank you. Bye!"
2. Please and thank you
Generally, when asking for something, say please. When receiving something, say thank you. This one may be simple, but it's easily forgotten, especially at hectic times — at the table, when you're rushing out of the house in the morning before school and work, etc . Make sure please and thank you becomes a habit in your family. 
3. Basic table manners 
Knowing how to conduct themself at the table starts with skillful fork and knife handling. Most kids can handle a knife and fork from the age of three or so, but it may take others until age five to feel comfortable with it. By age 10, your child should be handling their fork and knife with ease, be able to cut food and demonstrate table manners like chewing with their mouth closed, putting their napkin on their lap and asking to be excused from the table. 
4. Indoor / outdoor voices
This manner should be in your child's arsenal by ages 6/7. A rule that kids are commonly reminded of throughout elementary school (often with catchy songs and sayings to enforce it), the proper use of indoor voices and outdoor voices should, by age 10, be a matter of perceiving what is acceptable and what's not based on company and place. 
5. Not interrupting other people 
Your child should know not to interrupt grown-ups who are in conversation or on the phone, unless it's an emergency. Tell your child that a grown up will notice them and respond when they're finished talking. If they must interupt, make sure your child knows to say "excuse me," and not to tap repeatedly, poke or prod for attention. 
6. How to answer conversational questions 
Shy or not, making sure your child knows their way around basic conversation skills will equip them with the foundation to conduct themselves in the social world. Common questions like "How are you?" can be confusing for a child. Talk to them about this question. What are some possible answers? 
In the same vein, responses to statements like "Good morning" and "good afternoon" need clarification, too. How does one respond to these statements? 
7. Be a good host 
Apart from being polite when you have company over, your child should also know how to be a good host to their own company. By age 10, your child most likely has friends over. Basic hosting duties don't have to be formal — they just have to include making our friends feel comfortable in our space. By age 10, your child should know what to do with their friend's coat and shoes, how to share their toys, etc. 
Role playing with your child can help them get the rules right. Getting the swing of social conventions takes time — let your child be themselves and interpret the rules how they may. Learning is all about discovering the way for themselves. 

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