Attention, Please! -- Ask Mrs Manners

getting kids to pay attention

Photo by smash_cakes

The toddler years are the perfect age to start teaching your kids manners and good habits. And MrsManners aka: Angela Pitre, owner of the CM group Manners for the Modern Family and, is here to help.

Pssst. I have a secret to share -- my simple technique for teaching your toddler to pay attention when you need them to. And yes, it really works!

As with everything I do at Manners Made Fun, I like to make my lessons, well, fun.  Children learn the best when they don't realize they are learning. The game I am about to share was developed for my 3, 4 and 5 year old students, but children through age 8 enjoy it just as much.


The Wiggle and Giggle Game

Every child has pent up excitement and energy building every moment they have to hold still. I allow my students to request one Wiggle and Giggle, giving them the chance to use it when THEY need it.

To teach the game, ask your child to stand up (do it with them) and say, "Mrs. P, Mommy, whomever, may we wiggle and giggle?" Then let them jump around, spin, and laugh, laugh, laugh. When you think they've blown off enough steam, call out the magic words, "May I have Your Attention Please?"

Tell your child to stop, look, and listen to whomever calls out the magic words.  Repeat this game often. If you have an activity planned with your child for the day, tell him that he can ask to wiggle and giggle one time, or if you are really trying to drive the point home quickly, two or three times. It's all about the repetition.

You may want to come up with a different version for the car, where they wiggle and giggle in their seats, using it as a way to get some of the silliness out before entering a restaurant. While in the restaurant, if the wiggles and giggles start to come out uninvited, then you simply say the magic words and hopefully your child comes to full alert.

This popular game is not only a part of my classes, it's part of my Homemade Manners program, as well.

Learning to pay attention at a young age will help toddlers throughout their whole lives. Listening is the foundation for proper communication, whether in the home, school, with friends, or on the job. The possibilities and benefits of this little secret are endless.


Angie aka MrsManners

Got a question for MrsManners? Ask it here! And check back every Tuesday for her answers.


Past Ask Mrs Manners columns:

Spoiling vs. Nurturing

Strangling the Dog

Please Don't Interrupt!

10 Signs Your Toddler Is a Brat

Banish the Burp

Should Kids Be Forced to Share Toys?

Winging the Pacifier

Should Parents Say 'Thank You'?

Toddlers Eating Everything

Throwing-Obsessed Toddlers

Are You a Hypocrite?

Pushy Toddlers

Taming the Messy Eater

How to Have Well Behaved Toddlers

My Son Won't Stop Touching Other Moms' Breasts!

Is Shyness Impolite?

Stop Peer Pressure Early

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