Ask Mrs Manners: How to Have Well Behaved Toddlers

manners and etiquette

Photo by mommyto3kidz

I'm always stunned when I enter a public place, say the grocery store or my daughter's preschool, to find a child holding the door open for me. I'm stunned ... because it happens so rarely!

Somewhere along the lines, the focus on teaching manners to modern kids has gotten lost. I'd like to try to find it -- for my toddlers and yours -- and MrsManners (AKA Angela Pitre, CafeMom to 19-month old Griffin) has offered to help.

The owner of the CM group Manners for the Modern Family group and is going to visit us once in a while with some fun games and advice. This is the age to start instilling nuggets of etiquette in our toddlers.


And she wants your questions, too  -- on how to deal with public tantrums, kids who talk back, lack of gratitude, you name it! Post your question in comments, and check back in Toddler Buzz for MrsManners' answer in an upcoming post.

Let's start with my question: What is the earliest we can start teaching our toddlers manners, and how do we begin?

"Manners are something that you can start working on with your toddlers right now. They don't even need to be able to talk," MrsManners says. "You are their best teacher and they will naturally emulate your behaviors. So become the person you want your child to be. If you want your toddler to do something, ask them nicely: 'Will you please pick up that toy?' If he doesn't do it and knows he should, remove the 'please' from the sentence the second time so he realizes this isn't an option. And thank him when he is finished."

Whenever you can make manners fun, the better! MrsManners says. For instance, instead of telling your child to "sit still" when in his high chair, tell him he has entered the "no wiggle zone" -- the fun name gets him into the game and helps him remember it better. 

And here's a little song that MrsManners wrote to set your kids off on that path to good behavior. Just sing the lyrics to the tune of of "Are You Sleeping/Frere Jacques."

Please and Thank You, Please and Thank You

Sound So Nice, Sound So Nice,

Don't Forget to Use Them, Don't Forget to Use Them,

Every Day, Every Day

Do you have a question for MrsManners? Ask it here!


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