Why I make my children say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.


Last week we were out at a coffee shop with Steve’s family, and Nerys was being a bit clingy.  She wanted to sit right by me, and didn’t really want to talk to anyone.

Which is fine as far as I’m concerned.  If, for whatever reason, she’s feeling like she needs to be near me more than normal then so be it.  I’ll let her sit with me and not force her to join in with things.

What I will push for though, is her manners.

See, her Nana had a toasted tea cake in the cafe.  And normally Nerys would share this with her.  But on this particular day she didn’t want to say ‘yes please’ when she was asked if she wanted some.

So, for a fair while she went without.

Now, she wasn’t crying about this.  She is just stubborn like me.  And sometimes will chose to cut her nose off to spite her face.

Not the best trait of mine that’s been passed on to her, poor thing.

But the thing is, we all felt quite strongly that she should say ‘please’ if she wanted to be given some tea cake.

She’s nearly 3.  She is more than capable of saying the word.  Or signing it if she really didn’t want to speak!

And, for me, manners are important.

I will make my children say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Why I make my children say 'please' and 'thank you'.

And it’s the same for my husband.  He has very clear memories of his Grandfather telling him ‘manners maketh the man’, and it’s a saying that has really stuck with him.

We both feel that it’s important for our children to be polite, and to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

To me this is really different from forcing our children to do things like say ‘sorry’ if they upset someone.  Or making them share their things.

Saying ‘sorry’ is an expression of a feeling.  And while I would like my children to say it, I’m not sure how happy I am with forcing them to say it if they don’t actually feel it.

Please and thank you on the other hand, are not expressions of feelings.

It’s such a little thing, but it drives me mad when adults don’t say please or thank you.  It just seems so rude to me, when people don’t acknowledge that you’re doing something nice for them.

I don’t think it belittles my children, to ask them to say please or thank you.  And I will prompt them if they don’t say please when they’re asking for something, or thank you when they’re given something.

My Mum has told me that my siblings and I all managed an “ank-ooh” before we could properly talk.  And both my children were able to sign the word before their speech developed.

I suppose we all have our  things that are particularly important to us as parents.  And this is one of my things.

Oh, and Nerys did get some tea cake in the end.

We reached a compromise, where I asked Nana on her behalf if she could have some, and she said ‘thank you’ when it was given to her.  Not quite what I wanted from her, but it gave her an ‘out’ and still satisfied my desire for her to be polite.

I’m sure some people will wonder why we bothered.  Why we made a ‘thing’ out of it.  Why we didn’t just let it go and give her the tea cake to start with.

Well I’ve always believed that you have to pick your battles when it comes to parenting.  And for us, the battle for manners is one we’re willing to fight.

Do you feel strongly about your children saying please and thank you?  Or is this something that you think will just come with time?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. Kerry 19/02/2017 / 11:02 am

    I completely agree. Manners cost nothing, and I want my child to be polite and well mannered. #KCACOLS

  2. Rainbows are too beautiful 19/02/2017 / 11:26 am

    In a cafe some of my kids are just a bit dum-struck. I’ll help them out like you did, but it still sometimes comes out as a whisper -I think there’s just a lot going on and it’s that they don’t want to talk at all as apposed to not saying please and thank you. At home we do try to remember our please and thank yous – this way when they are brave enough to talk out and about, then hopefully it will be a bit more natural. It still takes a lot of work for us though, the boys in particular. David is pretty non verbal and even at 6 still struggles to put two words together – thank you on the end is another one, but he tries. Anthony’s ADHD isn’t like a sieve, it’s a flippin hoola hoop. He needs reminders at 8 to speak in full sentences – but again we constantly remind him and he tries.

    Thanks for sharing this with #kcacols and we hope to see you again next time!

  3. Eps 19/02/2017 / 11:38 am

    This is a very nice post. I always try my best to teach my kids with good manners and it’s a good habit to get used to it. Thank you for this lovely post. #KCACOLS

    • This glorious life
      20/02/2017 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you, a lot of it is about forming good habits isn’t it. x

  4. HELEN NEEDHAM 19/02/2017 / 8:38 pm

    I am always asking my two little ones to remember their please and thank you. It costs nothing to say, and it makes them stop to think about things, rather than just expecting it. #kcacols

    • This glorious life
      20/02/2017 / 6:19 pm

      That’s it isn’t it, it really does cost nothing to say it. x

  5. Helen @Talking_Mums 22/02/2017 / 8:47 pm

    I have done the same with our daughter and will do the same with our son. Now everyone always comments on how polite she is and what good manners she has. Don’t get me wrong she can be a madam like the rest of them but generally speaking she says please and thank you x

  6. jeremy@thirstydaddy 23/02/2017 / 3:34 pm

    politeness seems to be falling out of style. This is something that we have always stressed with our little also and will continue to do #KCACOLS

  7. Laura 24/02/2017 / 12:48 pm

    It’s definitely one of my things too, I think manners are so important 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • This glorious life
      25/02/2017 / 5:09 pm

      They really are important aren’t they! x

  8. Nadine Best 26/02/2017 / 8:25 am

    My parents were really big
    On manners and so am I! Even when I was in Kanpur with my first child they said I was the politest patient they had ever had!!! I expect please
    And thank you’s
    From my kiddos and it’s a deal breaker for me too.
    Manners count! #KCACOLS

    • This glorious life
      27/02/2017 / 8:23 pm

      Good to know other people feel as strongly about it as we do! Love that you were labelled politest patient ever! x

  9. Ali Duke 28/02/2017 / 9:26 am

    I think our kids should have good manors. Both of mine know to say please and thank you and I know they do as the lady in the local shop has told me how polite my son is when he goes in there, a very proud moment for me.

  10. Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes 02/03/2017 / 11:19 pm

    Manners are important. Even when my son had no speech, we taught him to sign “please” and “thankyou”. By the time he started school he only had a few words (he has a neuromuscular disorder) but one of them was “ta” which he said for “thank you” and he still signed. I was a proud mum! #KCACOLS

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