It seems like there is much to teach a wee little toddler. From how to eat with silverware, to potty training, to sharing, to being polite with “please” and “thank you” , it can be a bit overwhelming for parents! But it is so rewarding when your child learns the basics to being a semi-independent and kind little human. Teaching your child manners and how to be polite is actually easier than it sounds and we have provided some tips to follow to make it easier on you and your little one.
- Lead by example. Children learn from their parents. If you want your child to be polite, be polite. If you want your child to share, show how you share with others. If you want your child to say “please” and “thank you,” show them how this works. If you need to step in front of your spouse for something, say “Excuse me” and your child will notice all of these things. Children are like little sponges – They soak up everything around them so showing them how to be kinder by you and your spouse paving the way will make the transition so much easier.
- Gentle reminders. If your child doesn’t want to share with siblings or friends, start explaining to them at a young age why sharing is caring. If your child doesn’t want to share a specific toy, suggest playing with something altogether that your child can agree to sharing. When your child receives special gifts or kind words from another, remind them kindly to say “thank you.” When your child asks for something without saying please, remind them to say “please” so they don’t seem demanding.
- Gratitude lessons. It’s important for all people to understand the meaning of gratitude and it starts at a young age. The definition of gratitude is, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Teach your child at an early age how to have gratitude for all the wonderful things he or she is blessed with and all the wonderful things your family is blessed with. Some examples are a safe, warm home, good health, loving family and friends, etc.
- Positive encouragement. When your child starts acting out kindness and gratitude, encourage him or her with loving words. Don’t put down your child if they have a “tough moment,” but always be encouraging – That is what will stick with your child as he or she grows older. Positive reinforcement and love will just keep spreading through your family, from generation to generation.