Young children are capable of learning their colors, numbers, and manners, too.
Manners are behaviors. Good manners are acts that are seen as positive, helpful, and kind. For example, you may expect your toddler to say “please” and “thank you.” Your toddler learns appropriate manners through their relationships and daily experiences.
Why teach your toddler manners
Expecting respect from your toddler:
- Encourages respect for another person, including you
- Teaches your toddler to care about another person’s feelings
- Supports future friendships and social skills
- Boosts self-esteem
Modeling helps your toddler learn manners
Like the old phrase “monkey see, monkey do” suggests, your toddler’s behavior is influenced by your actions. Modeling good behaviors is the best way to teach your toddler the manners you expect from them.
- If the use of “please” and “thank you” is important to you, begin with “please” and end with “thank you” when you ask your toddler to give you something. These words become important to toddlers when their caregivers use them.
- Talk to your toddler with the same politeness you do to an adult.
- Tone of voice and body language matter — for example, a smiling face and warm tone of voice.
- If we don’t want children to yell or demand, then we must also not yell or demand.
- Make desired manners clear and achievable for your child. It’s not reasonable to expect your toddler to say “please” every time they ask for something. Your child has to practice to make it a habit and may forget sometimes.
- Share why the manner is important. Make it meaningful to your toddler.
- Give frequent reminders.
- Read books about manners to reinforce expectations.
View mistakes as a learning opportunity
- Try not to force your toddler to use manners.
- If your toddler makes a mistake, give them a chance to try again.
- For example, if your toddler demands a snack, give a gentle reminder to ask kindly.
- Correct your toddler politely and continue modeling behaviors you expect.
Believe your toddler will make good choices and remember to treat them with respect. Chances are they will do the same in return.
- Raise a polite kid: Everyone appreciates good manners
- Tips for setting rules that will work for preschoolers
- When imitating others, toddlers learn new skills