Model good manners for toddlers

Here are some tips to encourage more ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ from age 2 and up

interacting with young child to teach good manners

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?

It is OK to expect respect from your toddler. Respect teaches toddlers to care about other people’s feelings, including your own. It also supports future friendships, builds social skills, and helps boost 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.

Set expectations

  • Make desired manners clear and achievable for your child — it is unreasonable to expect your toddler to say “please” every time they ask for something.
  • 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 just that in return.

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Posted In Children's, Parenting

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