How To Teach Your Toddler Manners

Recently I found myself doing some thinking about how awesome it is when you’re out in public with your child or children, and someone says something like “Oh they are so well behaved”, or “Such nice kids”.

This is the ultimate compliment for any parent. I secretly do jumping jacks inside every time I hear it, because with kids -well, sometimes it can be hit or miss. lol

My children are not perfect, far from it as a matter of fact.

When we’re at home for instance, we still have the periodic bouts of them thinking that they are the ten little monkeys jumping on the bed. But for the most part, they do have manners.

When I talk about manners though, I am not talking about the Von Trapp children type of manners where they have to line up and state their name, but just the simple type where children are well behaved and know how to respond to every type of social cue.

It’s funny how before you have kids you take it for granted that when you do have kids they will automatically be mini versions of you, and emulate everything that you do.

In your mind, they will always know when to say “Thank you”, “Please” and “You’re Welcome” without you having to give them the eye or that tiny little nudge.

This is not always the case as they show us quite early that they have their own minds, their own free will and often times are not afraid to show us how far they can push defiance.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t guide them along the way. Actually that’s part of our jobs. It says so in the manual. lol.

I started talking to my kids about manners way before they were toddlers. I explain to them why manners are important, and why it is important to show manners to other people so that in turn, other people will be kind to them and show them manners.

Over the past few years as a parent I have managed to narrow down some pretty simple ways we can teach our toddlers manners. We use these every single day with our kids.

Reiteration and Repetition

What do toddlers and babies love to do? They love to imitate things that they see us do. One rule that we follow in my house is ensuriing that in every interaction, we pay attention to our behavior and we reiterate constantly.

For instance, every time my toddler asks for juice, and I hand it to him, I say “Thank you”,  and allow him to repeat it. I say it every single time.

The end result? Now my toddler will not take anything from anyone without saying thank you. It’s to the point where he tells you both “Thank you, and “You’re welcome” as one sentence. lol

Positive Recognition

Always remember to recognize your children in a positive way when they display manners that you have taught them. Use positive words in telling them how proud you are and what a great job they are doing with regards to a particular form of etiquette.

Something as simple as placing their dinner bowl in the sink should be celebrated. It encourages them and makes them want to continue this particular behavior.

Reward them whenever they use their kind words, or share their toys. There isn’t really an age which I think is too early to start, when it comes to positive recognition.

Even babies understand when they have done something which delights mommy or which does the opposite.

Reinforcement

This is really important when you are trying to ensure that your children learn to show manners. Knowing when and how to reinforce what you have been reiterating constantly is very important.

Using the same example with the juice and my toddler for instance, I will hold the juice in my hand and will not do the hand over to him until I hear “Thank you”.

During the rare instances when he forget his manners, I ask questions to help guide him. I’ll say something to the effect of  “What do you say?” or “I did not hear the magic words?”

I also make it a point of duty to correct my toddler’s sentences by repeating them the correct way myself.

When he says  “Mommy  I juice”, my response is always “May I have some juice please?”.

Later on when he thinks to himself that he wants to tell mommy “Mommy I juice”, I always see him thinking first and then he quickly changes up his sentence.

If I catch my toddler doing something out of the way I step in and reinforce.

Teaching children manners is not always an exact science. Children have free will and at times are not afraid to show us that they want to go against what is correct.

I sometimes have my own challenges with my toddlers forgetting show manners. Being mindful of our own behaviors, is really important as they look at that first in everything that we do.

 

What are your thoughts on teaching children how to show manners? Let me know in the comment box.

 

Related Reading:

Check out this blog post at Raisingbiracialbabies.com about

Cultural Competency and our Kids.

 


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51 Comments

  1. March 31, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    I can totally relate with this article! I have always worked to reinforce good manners with my son…he is 10 now. He knows how to use them and rarely needs reminding. No greater feeling than a complete stranger telling you what good manners your son has!!!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      March 31, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Good for you Joanne for always reinforcing manners in your son! I am sure he is an absolute gentleman. You are totally right that there is no greater feeling than those random compliments from strangers about our kids!

  2. April 13, 2018 / 4:53 pm

    Manners are so important (and lacking these days). When my boys were little I always thought that the best way to teach them was to use them myself. When they did behave badly I used it as a chance to teach them how to do things differently. I always allowed them to be open with me and feel like they could ask questions. They’re not little anymore, the youngest is 15. But they still say please and thank you and I’m proud of them every moment.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 12:57 am

      Glad to hear Angela. That means you have done an awesome job at raising them.

  3. April 13, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    I loved reading this!! I have a 15 month old so these tips will come in handy!!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:37 am

      Than you for taking the time to read Ashley!

  4. April 13, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    This article is so important for toddler parents! I loved this. Reiteration and repetition is key. Great post. Must read for all parents!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:38 am

      Could not have said it better Grace. My hope is that all parents understand the importance.

  5. Ashley Roberts
    April 13, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    Great ideas!!! There are so many parents who just let their kids run wild its nice to see someone who has their act together!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:39 am

      Thank you Ashley, thank you for the compliment. There are many parents out there who are doing an awesome job at teaching their kids this fundamental life skill.

  6. Bianca
    April 13, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Totally agree with you tips, consistency is a big thing.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 12:32 am

      Absolutely Bianca. Consistency is key in teaching our kids to be mindful of the way they behave.

  7. April 13, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    LOVE this! I was asked once by a friend about to have her first baby how we got our kids to be so polite. I told her that we are polite to them. That’s it. If that’s the normal, that’s how they think conversations are supposed to go. Well done!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:03 am

      I completely agree with you Kristy. I am glad that you received the ultimate parent compliment from your friend also.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:04 am

      Thank you for reading Jessica.

  8. Tawnya
    April 14, 2018 / 12:21 am

    I think you hit on a great point, and that is that kids need to be taught things. I’m a teacher, and one of the big things with behavior is making sure the student actually knows what’s expected of them before giving consequences. Are they disobeying or do they just not know? It’s always good to teach kids what you expect and not just assume they’ll pick it up by osmosis.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:06 am

      Love the way you explained it Tawnya. You are most definitely right. We just cannot assume with kids. Teaching them is absolutely the right way to go. Thank you for being an awesome teacher!

  9. April 14, 2018 / 12:32 am

    I don’t have kids but good pointers. I had it instilled in me to where I even say thank you at the drive thru for them taking my order.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:51 am

      Thank you Julie. I love that you do this. It’s proof that you were raised the right way!

  10. April 14, 2018 / 12:37 am

    Polite kids are so refreshing! Keep up the great work 🙂

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:07 am

      Absolutely Maia. There is nothing more refreshing that a child with manners.

  11. April 14, 2018 / 12:46 am

    I don’t have kids yet, but this looks to be helpful for when I finally do! I do wholeheartedly agree with the repetition part especially, because this applies for even people who don’t have kids. Nieces, nephews, cousins, kids of friends, even just the ones out in public–they watch adults and they’ll learn the most random things! It’s definitely something to think about.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:08 am

      I agree Sarah, repetition is a strong tool.

  12. April 14, 2018 / 1:12 am

    This is so important and the earlier we instill basic manners and courtesy, the easier it is for our kids to do it naturally.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:12 am

      Very interesting word, “naturally”. That is absolutely what we want to instill in our kids, a natural propensity towards displaying good behavior. It naturally becomes a part of them once we teach them the right way early in life. Completely agree with you Sheri.

  13. April 14, 2018 / 1:19 am

    It’s refreshing to hear mom’s talking about teaching their children manners. They will be much more successful in life because of it

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:13 am

      Completely agree Shelley!

  14. April 14, 2018 / 1:35 am

    My oldest was very stubborn about talking, my babysitter taught her ASL for thank you and please. It was adorable watching her rub her belly for please.

    My youngest is 22 months and starting to talk, her first understandable words were No, Help and Thank You

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:18 am

      That is beautiful Alecia, teaching them at such an early age is absolutely a perfect way to instill such an important life skill!

  15. April 14, 2018 / 1:38 am

    I totally agree with positive reinforcement with kids. I love the smile my little one gets when he does something and we shower him with “good job” and high 5’s!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:20 am

      Jet, I love that part also. It brings such joy to them to get the positive reinforcement! It’s a joy to give it also.

  16. April 14, 2018 / 2:30 am

    My toddler doesn’t talk yet, a few words here and there but I do try to always tell him to say please and thank you even though I know he can’t. But thanks so much for this post because now I will actually be mindful of what I’m doing and saying and making sure it is done.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:22 am

      I am glad you enjoyed the post Jessica. Keep saying it to him! You are doing a wonderful job already.

  17. April 14, 2018 / 2:49 am

    Practicing manners at home and at the dinner table – modeling, seems to work the best. I have 6 kiddos and they have good “public” manners. 🙂

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:24 am

      That is awesome Paula! I am all in favor of practicing manners at home and at the dinner table. Good point!

  18. April 14, 2018 / 3:00 am

    Love all of your points! I think the very last thing you said about having parents who also routinely use good manners is huge!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:26 am

      It’s key Natalie. Whether we realize it or not, those little eyes are always looking at us and learning from us at all times.

  19. April 14, 2018 / 10:40 am

    Really great advice on Parenting! I am proud that my little princess is also well behaved and I get those comments from others. Most of the tips you have given we follow but also learned some new ones! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:27 am

      Glad I could share Mohan.
      That is absolutely wonderful that your little princess is already on board with her manners!

  20. April 14, 2018 / 10:49 am

    I think it’s great when parents invest their time and energy into their babies. It’s so sad when you see the kids that do whatever they want and their parents have zero control over them. I hope many parents and future parents will read your article!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:29 am

      Thank you Skaiste. It is absolutely a powerful thing when time is taken to teach and guide your children!

  21. April 14, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    Great advice! You sound like a great parent! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:31 am

      Thank you so very kindly for reading Kelsey. I accept your compliment with humble gratitude.

  22. April 14, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    The thing I notice is when we teach manners to our kids, we forget to appreciate them. So if you get a little bit success just appreciate them. Such a good read!!!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 1:36 am

      Yes! You absolutely hit the nail on the head. We have to always remember to recognize them and reward them! They live for those high fives!

  23. April 15, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    These tips are so helpful,there are so many kids who lack manners out here…lol!

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      Thank you for your comment Dolphine.

  24. April 15, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    Reiteration and repetition, positive recognition, and reinforcements are food strategies to use when teaching your child manners. I commend you for taking the time to do so.

    • Thiswaymommy
      Author
      April 16, 2018 / 3:21 pm

      Thank you Ingrid, as parents it’s important that we invest in our children.

  25. Marian
    May 15, 2018 / 1:02 am

    Nothing like when a stranger walks by and tell you, “you have well behaved kids”! I am so glad to see this post.

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