How to Teach Manners to a Toddler

It’s never too early to teach your child manners – even before they can speak, you can encourage some fundamental manners, and once they begin to grasp language, you can teach them even more. Wherever you stand on etiquette, whether you’re a traditionalist or you have more modern opinions, manners cost nothing and will help to teach politeness to your children. As a parent, there’s nothing worse than hearing your child be rude or short to family members, friends or members of the public.

For example, if the lady in the shop says hello to your little one, the ideal would be for your little one to politely return the greeting. Of course, this won’t always happen – especially with a toddler whose mood can change quicker than the weather – but as long as you teach basic manners early, your child should grow into a confident and polite individual.

Children learn from example and for them to learn manners you need to do your bit as their parent; they won’t pick it up on their own. Here are some fabulous ways in which to help teach manners to a toddler so that as far as politeness is concerned, they can step off on the right foot.

  • Be a good role model – you can’t expect your children to be polite and kind if you don’t demonstrate those manners during your day-to-day life. Lead by example because you are your child’s role model. It’s not always easy and you will almost certainly slip at times, but simple manners aren’t difficult to achieve. Saying “excuse me” to pass people in the supermarket or “thank you” when somebody holds the door open for you will help your little one to grasp the concept of manners, fast.

  • Use toys to encourage manners - Take a look at the products on the market, such as the Fisher-Price Say Please Tea Set, which help to teach your toddler manners, through the power of role play, without them even realising it!

  • Stick with the basics – to begin with, anyway. Teaching them to say please and thank you as soon as they can talk is a great start. Saying “ta” when they’re just learning words would be an ideal place to begin. “What’s the magic word?” will be a phrase you use, a lot.

  • Behave in public – Whether you’re at a cafĂ© or have been invited to a wedding ceremony, encouraging your child to show good behaviour, no matter how formal the setting, is a good practice to adopt. The last thing you want is to be the mum of the screaming kids who can’t sit still!

Encourage politeness to other children – that means teaching them to share, play nicely and sending them to time-out if they misbehave. If they have siblings to practise on then you have a head start!

Manners don’t stop at a simple please and thank you. Good behaviour, politeness and being kind are just some of the skills that your child will pick up as they grow, and the sooner you help them learn these key life skills, the better. After all, no one likes a rude child – especially not when it’s their own!