Teaching Good Manners to Toddlers

A detailed guide on how to instill good manners and behaviors in toddlers, what manners to teach them and how to go about doing it effectively

Toddlers often behave like little primitive humans, using grunts, grabbing, and pushing as methods of communication. However, on the bright side, this is the age where they start to absorb values and behaviors at an astounding pace. This suggests that it is the ideal time to introduce them to the world of good manners.

While it might seem pointless asking your active toddler to excuse themselves before leaving the table, repetition ensures eventual understanding. By relentlessly emphasising on manners, you are encouraging your child to gradually pick up these skills and mannerisms.

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Teaching your child to be respectful and polite might appear daunting and insolvable at times. Happily, though, teaching children manners is not impossible and there is no better time than the present to start laying the groundwork. Manners are a way of showing kindness, respect, and consideration to others.

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By consistently modeling respectful behavior and keeping your expectations realistic, your teachings can have a lasting impact on your child. Research has proven that children exposed to good manners early in their life perform better not only through their kindergarten years, but also throughout their lives as well.

Here are some manners additions for your toddler’s behavior-moulding schedule, even though real-world applications might take a while to become evident.

Firstly, there is the magic of saying please and thank you. Reinforcement during their early talking stages aids in remembrance of these courtesy words in your child's later stages. Reminders during in-house conversations often work wonders.

Secondly, sharing and taking turns is a valuable lesson toddlers should grasp early on. It’s never too early to begin teaching them these social skills which are crucial to their initiation into the world of cooperative playdates, and later, the school environment.

Thirdly, greetings are an important part of our daily interactions with others. Toddlers may be hesitant to say hello and goodbye, but by practicing these greetings when you are out and about with your child, they will begin to understand their value.

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Fourthly, having your child join you for meal times, even for a few minutes, is a great way to introduce them to the importance of sharing a meal with others and the etiquettes associated with such an activity.

Fifthly, teaching your child about respecting others underlies the teaching of all good manners. Demonstrating respect towards your child at home is the best way to teach them how others should be treated.

The last but equally important etiquette is writing notes. While toddlers are too young to actually write, getting them familiarized with the gesture of sending thank you notes can be initiated at this stage.

While there are good manners to teach, there are equally bad ones to avoid. Being a sore loser, name-calling, and a lack of courtesy towards hosts or guests are a few bad habits to steer clear of.

Inculcating manners and respect in your child can be achieved through simple everyday actions like eating meals together and expressing gratitude even on most inconsequential occasions. Giving a chance to your child to practice the magic words, observing your interactions with others, and setting low yet defined expectations helps in consolidating good manners.

It’s important to bear in mind that teaching toddlers to respect and exhibit good manners is a lengthy process that demands a lot of patience. However, you can make a positive difference without making it tough for yourself and your toddler by going about it in a steady and calm manner.

In summary, taking up this challenge of teaching your toddler good manners can certainly seem tough, but resultantly, the values it instills in them is worth the effort. And, a polite 'please' and 'thank you', on your part, always paves the way.