Business Etiquette Newsletter

Teaching Manners To Children

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend The National Speakers Association Carolinas Chapter meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.The chapter is comprised of wonderfully talented people from all across the Carolinas. It is about a four hour drive from my home in Savannah to Charlotte, and trip is made up of three extremely boring interstate highways. The kind that easily become parking lots if anything out of the ordinary occurs, like a speeder pulled over by a patrol car. Desperate for some entertainment many of the drivers slow down to gawk, resulting producing a traffic jam.

I endure this drive often, not simply to attend a speakers meeting where I can hone my skills and interact with other professional speakers, but numerous other times so I can visit my grandchildren who live in Charlotte. On this particular weekend it was a two for one: the chance to learn from an extremely talented storyteller and teacher named Doug Stevenson, and spend precious time with Sam (age 8) and Harry (age 6).

I am often asked if I would consider teaching manners to children. My reply is a resounding “No.” My first job was as a teacher of French at the high school level. And for a good reason. I never felt comfortable around small children but thoroughly enjoyed teenagers. That’s weird, I know. I have turned down requests for teaching manners to children, unless of course they were my own. My daughters had manners lessons on a regular basis and not necessarily upon request.

During my visit with Sam and Harry (oh, and my daughter and her husband!), I found myself  teaching  manners to children, my own grandsons  Friday night we went out to dinner, taking the boys to Red Robin, their favorite eatery and possibly the noisiest.  As we entered the restaurant, my daughter reached for the outer door. I quickly took the boys by the hand and pulled them back as they raced for the open door. Then I quietly asked if they had ever heard of “Ladies First.” They gave me a puzzled look so I explained that holding doors for ladies and allowing them to enter first is good manners. I went so far as to suggest that they should always hold the door for their mother.

Holding doors became quite a game for the weekend. Neither my daughter nor I could get anywhere near a door that wasn’t already being held by both Harry and Sam. Now that I am back home and the boys are back in their usual routine, I wonder if they remembered today to hold the day for their mother. I am thinking that maybe I do teach manners to children, and I have discovered it’s fun. Maybe I will try it on some other unsuspecting children.

Meanwhile it is back to speaking and writing about business etiquette for adults who want to add the polish that builds profits.

Here’s to teaching manners to children and holding doors for others, regardless of age or gender…

professional speaker
Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,

Lydia Ramsey

Lydia Ramsey is a leading business etiquette and modern manners expert who offers seminars, keynote speeches, webinars and individual coaching. She works with corporations, associations, colleges and universities as well as individuals.

3 thoughts on “Teaching Manners To Children

  • Merrill Grace Cote

    love the story about teaching little boys to hold doors for ladies. I think I will give it a try in my family!

  • Anonymous

    I grew up in the Western U.S., but when I went away to college in the South, I was surprised at (and truly appreciated) how so many of the male students held doors open for the women on campus. How refreshing that was. I’m glad to know there are still parents and grandparents who teach this to their sons and grandsons.

  • Deborah Dickson

    Absolutely! Being gracious is always timeless. I was raised that manners make a lady or a gentleman. As a woman, I try to open the door for those approaching as I exit as common courtesy. Some smile and say thank you in response but others may not. Regardless, my face will wear the smile no matter what others do!

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