Ask Mrs Manners: Stop Peer Pressure Early

Cynthia Dermody
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The toddler years are the perfect age to start teaching your toddlers manners. And MrsManners aka: Angela Pitrie, owner of the CM group Manners for the Modern FamilyMannersMadeFun.com, is here to help. 

Dear MrsManners,

How do you get toddler to use their manners in a group?

"I have extremely well behaved children and no I'm not exaggerating (I worked day care for three years) but my  27 month old tends to act like not so well-mannered when she is in a large group of children. How do I get her to stop this and mind her manners even when others her age aren't? --lalasha


MrsManners says:

At this age, children learn more from example than anything else. So when you take them out and they are in a large group, they will almost always imitate what the other children are doing. It is a natural part of their learning process, but still not ideal if you are not comfortable with the other children's behavior.

Communication is a must when it comes to your toddler, and the results are still going to be hit or miss. Before you go to any outing with your child, take the time (even if it is in the car on your way there) to talk about what you will be doing and what your expectations of them are. Remind them that we use our indoor voices, share, we don't hit or push, and we answer someone properly when they ask a question.

It is also important to explain to them that not all children have the same rules and that no matter what; they are to use their manners. Your child is not going to be perfect at this age. Try to remember that it is okay to let them be a crazy kid and cut loose a little bit, as long as they aren't a danger to themselves or others. 

If you are going to schedule a play date, talk to the other parents about the "rules" of the play date prior to attending. Agree with one another in advance to allow all parents to say things like "Anne, please stop pushing" and "John will you please use your indoor voice." If anything needs to be said again, then that adult notifies the child's parent of the situation. This eliminates potential issues for all the families participating.    

If things get tough, don't be discouraged!  The only way they will learn is by practicing, the best way to practice is for them to go out. You can try role playing as a fun activity at home. Pretend to throw a temper tantrum and ask your child if he or she thinks the behavior is okay. Yell real loud and ask, is this good behavior? Ask, what would you do if someone hit you? Make it fun for both of you, this exercise might just make your next outing a little less stressful.

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