Top 10 ways to teach your toddler manners

Here’s what to consider when teaching your toddler manners.

Anyone can take care of children, but it takes a patient and dedicated parent to bring them up to be friendly, caring and polite. Here are some tips to teach your toddler respect, discipline, and how to behave.

Show them
Be a good role model. Toddlers copy everything they see and will adopt the same manners you display. They will do what you do, not what you say!

Tell them
Children feel safe if they know what you expect from them and if they understand the reason behind certain rules. Explain why it is important to be polite and do the right thing. Help them to understand the benefits of good manners.

The basics
Lay a solid foundation, and your child will understand manners better. Try to focus on “please and thank you” or on first impressions and introductions. Teach them how to greet different people, show them how to shake hands or hug someone, and encourage them to ask the person how they are and listen to the answer.

Ground rules
Lay down ground rules for more advanced interactions. Talk about table manners and respect, in a very simple form. Invite your toddler to join you at the table and start with simple things like sitting still for a while, not playing with food and not interrupting. Help them to understand what customs you use and what etiquette is, but understand that this is probably a long journey. Nobody taught a toddler table manners overnight!

Social interaction
Use play dates to practise new skills. Prepare your toddler before you go and remind them of the right way to behave. Be aware of how they play and talk to their friends, and discuss any incidents with them later, illustrating in a kind way how they could have dealt with it differently.

Practise skills
Excursions offer the perfect opportunity to discuss appropriate behaviour. Use every situation to teach your toddler respect towards people, animals and objects. Practise how to behave in different places and at different events. 

Keep it simple
Your toddler will only participate willingly if you keep it simple and fun. Do not overwhelm them with too much information, and try to make learning part of a game.

Be consistent
The best way to ensure good manners is to be consistent: rules cannot change from day to day, or you will simply confuse your toddler. Persist with the same manners to incorporate them into your toddler’s behaviour. Studies show that inconsistency may make your toddler feel uncertain and insecure.

Be patient
As much as possible, try not to get discouraged! This is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to establish manners and good behaviour, and all Moms struggle with it at first. Don’t forget to respond kindly if your toddler forgets to do something – this is one situation in which kindness is a great teacher, as it reflects your good manners.

Use rewards
Toddlers love rewards (don’t we all?) Praise them publicly for good behaviour, and give them treats specifically for behaving well. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of only noticing bad behaviour, but if you reward good behaviour you’re more likely to see more of it.

Teaching your toddler good manners is a gift that will stay with them for many years, and make interactions with others both easier and more pleasant. Although it’s not always easy to instil good manners, the rewards are well worth the effort. Have you found anything that has a positive impact on your child’s manners?

Leave your comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up