Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Be Nice---Toddler Manners!

It’s never too early to teach your toddler manners! My little one is soaking up manners right now (not to say she doesn’t still have her moments.) But it is amazing to me how she has picked up on “please” and “thank you” so quickly. My favorite is when she says “bless you” and “yes, ma’m." Music to my ears!

Here are some tips on how to instill manners in your little one at an early age.

- Chat about the good deeds that you do or that others do to provide examples for your child. For instance, when you need to write a thank you note to someone, involve your child in the process. Let them help you put the stamp on the letter and explain that you are thanking “Aunt Betty” for the gift she sent you. It is a great teachable moment on why it is important to say thank you.

- Use manners yourself. Whatever manners you want your child to use, make sure you are modeling yourself. Your child will pick up on it very quickly if you are repetitive with your “pleases” and “thank yous.”
- Point out when your child uses good manners and make a big deal out of it. When you catch your child being kind or using manners, make sure you praise them and give her positive reinforcement. If you only point out the bad, your child could decide they don’t care if they get the negative attention, as long as they get attention from you. Positive attention is what we want them to crave!
- Practice greetings. When you are going to meet someone out at the mall or a restaurant, practice with your toddler how you are going to greet your friend or relative. Tell them to say hello when you get there and say goodbye when it’s time to leave. If your child gets shy around other people, help them with their greetings, but don’t press them to talk because it will just make them feel even more uneasy. They will begin to feel more comfortable with their greetings in time!

Manners are something a person carries with them for a lifetime! Your child will benefit greatly from the manners you teach them at a young age, so good jobs moms and dads! Now if someone could just help us learn how to share...that's a whole other topic for another day!

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