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How to Teach Manners to a Toddler
December 3, 2014
As an adult, you understand when to stay ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and practice good manners on a regular basis. As a parent, you want your child to be the same and learn how to be respectful. But how do you teach manners to a toddler? How can a small child learn how to be nice? It is essential that parents teach their children polite manners so the child can grow up to be a respectful and productive adult. In everyday toddler care, you can practice measures that will ensure your child is speaking and acting appropriately. Below are a few tips to help you along the way to a polite child.
Since you are the parent, you must act accordingly if you want your toddler to learn politeness. When your child hands you a toy, even if it is millionth time, say thank you. If you need your toddler to hand you something, say ‘please’. My son actually tells his 2 year old daughter that ‘please’ is a magic word that will get her what she wants. ‘What is the magic word’, he will remind her, every time she forgets to say please.
This will help the child to learn these phrases go along with certain actions. As you practice polite manners, your child will as well. Saying ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no sir’ to other adults around your child will help them pick up the habit.
It is also important to ensure your child is around other adults who practice politeness. If your child is staying with grandma or in daycare, be sure that the caregiver understands your need for manners with your child and practices good behavior so your child can learn additional ways to be polite.
Point Out Examples
When your child is small, they have a difficult time understanding certain behaviors. Take sharing for example. A child may have a very difficult time sharing toys but you want your toddler to be able to get along well with others. When visiting friends with small children, point out good behavior. For example, if another child shares with your child, point it out. You can say how nice it is to share and doesn’t that make you feel happy that your friend is sharing with you. This will help your child connect the dots with good behavior and feelings.
Small children want things NOW and right away, never wanting to wait. Patience is a virtue and must be learned. With a small child, you must teach them to not interrupt and how to wait their turn, another vital manner. To do this, encourage your child not to interrupt during conversations or events. You can do this when you are on a phone call or during conversations. Make your child wait and show them that it is not polite to interrupt. By explaining this, your child will catch on and begin to be more polite with others in this manner.
It is important for everyone to be greeted with a Hello and a Goodbye, whether it be strangers on the street or family members. Teach your child to greet others nicely and to shake hands or hug. This is a great way to teach children manners when it comes to adults. Practice introductions with your child so they understand how to act when meeting new people. Many children can be quite shy at first so practicing will help the child to understand what it means to meet new people and what is expected of them.
Overall, it is important for children to be able to be polite and well-mannered. To be this way, it starts at home. As parents, we must do our part to ensure our child is learning the appropriate way to act and to act accordingly in situations that call for good manners.