Don’t Pick the Flowers! and Other Yard Manners for Kids

Don't pick the flowers! and other yard manners for kids. Great ideas for spring and summer from

We know you love your children. You want the best for them!

This summer, you want your kids safe while they explore the world around them. But why not also teach them a little about yard manners too? Simply put, kids need to know the expectations for outdoor play so they don’t accidentally step on any toes — or in any well-manicured flower beds.

Now, we’re not talking about Mr. Wilson yelling at Dennis the Menace to get off his lawn. (Although we can probably agree that young Dennis could use a course in etiquette for kids!)

When you teach your kids that we are all humans living on and caring for Planet Earth together, they begin to understand that a little compassion and kind-heartedness get us a lot further than if we treat each other with disregard.

So whether you’re the one with the green thumb interested in preserving your own garden or you’re interested in preserving good relationships with your neighbors, where do you start?

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Yard Manners

1. Be Clear on Boundaries

Young children may not realize where your yard ends and the neighbor’s begins. He or she may be unclear on the concept that people’s property extends outside their homes. A simple approach to yard manners for kids begins with teaching your children what’s okay and what isn’t.

Remind them that just like we wouldn’t go into our neighbor’s kitchen and take some flour, we are not allowed to go into their flower beds and pick a bouquet — no matter how sweet the sentiment may be. (This also applies to eating from someone’s fruit/vegetable garden, Peter Rabbit. Why are kids compelled to eat fruits and veggies that are off limits!?) Some things are best enjoyed when left to grow.

Based on reader feedback, it seems kids also need to know: this concept extends to climbing the neighbor’s tree. fishing in someone else’s pond, swimming in someone’s pool, or allowing the dog to -ahem- do its business in someone else’s yard without disposing properly. Ew. Retrieving your ball from the neighbor’s yard is fine, but using their yard for the outfield without permission? Nope.

2. Watch Your Feet!

When you’re running around, sometimes you don’t think about where your feet are… or whose flower beds or vegetable gardens you might be trampling through. Sad face. It’s simple to teach your kids to please use the sidewalk when they can, even if it would be shorter to walk through someone’s yard.

Find this and more ideas for what to teach your kids about outdoor manners and yard etiquette at

3. Garden with Your Kids

To really hit home the idea that a person’s garden is precious, let your children help you outdoors. They’ll see that caring for plants is a lot of fun, and a lot of work!

Listen to them cheer their little garden along as they wait for it to grow. They will understand and appreciate first-hand how much effort can go into growing plants.

And a side benefit, they’ll probably learn a thing or two about nature and simple plant biology. Sweet!

Letting your children help in the garden can actually cultivate good outdoor manners: As they learn how much work it takes, they will be less likely to pick other people's flowers or trample through gardens.

4. Please Don’t Litter

Teach your kids that trash should be placed in a trash can or recycled. Even if it’s more convenient to toss a drink bottle or chewed gum onto the ground, these often end up in other people’s yards or gardens, which is just plain rude. Thinking of others is a hallmark trait of manners for kids, and this is a great example of how to cultivate that.

5. Clean Up Time!

Whether they’re at your house or a friend’s home, good yard manners means teaching your kids to pick up yard toys when they are finished playing with them. Not only will it keep things neat, but it will also potentially save them from the mower — helping the toys last longer. Who could argue with that? Also let them know that if something gets broken, they should tell an adult — whether it’s a toy or a window!

BONUS TIPS! Yard Manners for Teens

If you have a teen driver, be sure they know not to park in front of mailboxes or block driveways (in addition to steering clear of fire hydrants). This is considerate not only to others hoping to use the driveway but also to mail carriers who can’t deliver mail if they can’t reach the box.

Also be sure they know that getting a drink out of the neighbor’s garage refrigerator is considered stealing unless the neighbor has offered… no matter how hot it is outside!

Manners isn't about rules. It's about relationship. find out more at

Manners for kids really isn’t about doling out more and more rules. It’s all about enriching our kids’ social lives with positive interactions and thoughtfulness for others — and in this case, others’ property!

It’s the Polite Kids 101 way to think of others and mind your manners whether inside or outside the home.

So what did we forget? What’s your nightmare yard etiquette story? Talk to us in the comments below!

(Linked up at Project Inspire{d})

READ NEXT: New Etiquette Classes That Will Change Your Child’s Life!

About Aubrey Hunt
Before hopping on the crazy ride we call motherhood, I studied engineering and taught math and science to middle and high school students. Now, perhaps like you, I fill my days singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and praying my preschooler will eat a vegetable — any vegetable!

16 thoughts on “Don’t Pick the Flowers! and Other Yard Manners for Kids”

  1. Well said! In our neighborhood we don’t have too many problems with kids, it is the dog owners who need to learn some manners.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Ew. Dog poop in the yard is the worst. (Am I allowed to say “poop” on here? I just did. Haha.)

  2. I agree…getting kids involved and taking ownership for gardening or other things around the home and garden can really help them be more respectful elsewhere. I think it also helps to get involved in serving so they become others focused rather than self-focused.

    Thanks for sharing you great tips with us at Project Inspire{d}!!

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Thank you for your comment and for hosting a fantastic link-up party! It’s one of my favorites to come to for great ideas. 🙂

  3. Lana says:

    Great list. When my younger son was 5, he brought me a beautiful bouquet of freshly picked flowers – from the next door neighbor’s garden. Luckily the neighbor had grandkids and was understanding. I still tease him about it and he’s 16 now!

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Ohhhh man. Yeah, that’s one he probably won’t ever live down. Haha.

  4. Robyn Wright says:

    Great post! We had 3 other manners issues over the years with some of the neighbor kids. One was kids SCREAMING – I’m not talking about just playing and being loud or even yelling, these kids screamed like they were being murdered! They weren’t, just playing, but parents need to tell their kids screaming is not okay. We also had a couple of kids who would run around cars in the driveways of others and on the streets and rub their hands all over them – fingerprints everywhere. As a car nut, my Hubby particularly hated this. The last was a teenage thing. I know the F word is not as big of a deal for the younger generation, but still. We had teens next door just hanging out on the porch talking, but every other word out of their mouth was F, F, F. Ugh.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Those ARE all important! The first one — the screaming — is actually a safety issue, too. We teach in Safe Kids 101 that one of the problems with abduction is that adults can mistake the sound of kids screaming as kids playing precisely because of what you said! Screaming bloody murder is not appropriate, for sure. I also have a child who LOVES to scream, so I know as a parent how difficult it can be to correct this behavior. She’s still really young (not 2 yet), so we’re working on it. But I also want to help her communicate appropriately to save my ear drums!

  5. April says:

    Manners seem to be dying in our community. I love the idea that you’ve outlined some neighborhood rules. I don’t like my children even picking my flowers, without my permission because Bee will pick ALL OF THEM! LOL! Thanks for sharing with Countdown in Style!

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      I know! I hear people say all the time that manners and etiquette have become a dying art. It is SO my heart to not let that be the case! Because, like I said, manners isn’t so you can “do things the right way” (whatever that really means), it’s about thinking of others and showing kindness in the actions you choose. And kids need to know this stuff! Ha. Oops. Stepping off my soap box now! Thanks for your comment. (Again!)

  6. These are great tips, I had never thought about teaching kids in this way, Always need to respect others property.

    Thanks too for stopping by Weekends Are Fun to link up.
    Have a great week

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Thanks for your comment and for hosting the link up! It was fun to participate. 🙂

  7. Love tip #3! It’s so true that when you get kids involved in gardening and lawn care, they develop a better awareness and respect for it, which then translates into more awareness and respect for other people’s yards!

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      So glad you agree. That’s one that I could work on — not having a green thumb myself (at ALL), I’ve always shied away from gardening. But we inherited a lovely yard with many plants that are already thriving, so I will enlist the kids’ help for sure! Thanks for your comment!

  8. Brittnei says:

    You are definitely so on point about us needing to teach our children manners and boundaries. I have a rambunctious 2 year old boy so you can probably imagine how that must be for right now. I try to just be consistent because he’s still learning and likes to test boundaries of course as an exploring toddler. I will have to keep a lot of these at the forefront of my mind when we spend our time outdoors 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing with us at Countdown in Style!

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Oh yes, don’t sweat it! I mean, we do say start early with manners… and he’s not too young to start teaching, but don’t worry excessively about it because it’s really a process. I know I have the tendency to be like, “I told you, now you should know it.” But that’s not fair to my kids! Exploring and learning boundaries is something he’ll be doing for a while, and that’s a really good thing. It’s helping grow him to eventually be an adult who makes great decisions. Keep on doing a great job, mama!

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