Children’s Good Manners

Photo of Sam Claflin

By Charm Moreto Damon

A few weeks ago, I shared two postings on back-to-school themes, and discussed how students and parents themselves cope with the new school year.  This week, I am sharing a poem that is quite important, and focuses on one of the factors that facilitate student success in school (or anywhere else, for that matter) – having good manners.  Also, the poem below is very timely, as September is National Children’s Good Manners month.  As I searched several resources on how to re-introduce good manners to my 3-year-old son as he starts school this year, I came across “My Dog Has Got No Manners” by Bruce Lansky (2004), and I thought that the humor portrayed in the poem is a clever way to help young children understand good conduct. 


My Dog Has Got No Manners


My dog has got no manners.

I think he’s very rude.

He always whines at dinnertime

while we are eating food.

And when he’s feeling thirsty 
and wants to take a drink,
 he takes it from the toilet
 instead of from the sink.

He never wears a pair of pants.  He doesn’t wear a shirt.
 But worse, he will not shower
 to wash away the dirt.

He’s not polite to strangers.
  He bites them on the rear.
  And when I’m on the telephone,
 he barks so I can’t hear.

When I complained to Mommy,
 she said,



“I thought you knew:

the reason that his manners stink—

he learns by watching you.”


As I read the mom’s response to her child complaining about his dog’s lack of good manners, I could not help but think how this scenario mirrors many households, because children learn their manners by watching their parents and other adults.

 So, as you plan to reintroduce and reinforce good manners to your children this month (and every day to come) to celebrate Good Manners Month, what behavioral aspects would you like to work on with them and on your own self?


Notes:  Adapted from the poem in Rolling in the Aisles, published by Meadowbrook Press. This classroom theater play version of “My Dog Has Got No Manners” is © 2005 by Meadowbrook Press. © 2004 by Bruce Lansky. Source:


About the Author: Charm Moreto Damon is a mother, a TESOL professional and a freelance editor.  She graduated from the University of the Philippines, and pursued graduate studies at the Ohio State University, where she also taught academic writing and research to international students.  She is currently a stay-at-home-mom, and keeps herself busy with family, friends, and editorial work.   She may be contacted at


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