Teaching Pre-schoolers Good Manners




Are you having a hard time raising your preschoolers with the right manners and good conduct?


Once children reach their toddler years, as parents, we begin to realize that they are showing unlikely manners. The time they learn to speak, we eagerly teach them greetings and phrases which are age-appropriate.


At age of 18 months, kids began to understand that there are accepted behaviors that they need to show the people around them. And preschoolers begin to learn the meaning and concept of “please” and “thank you”.


But it is to expect that young ones would show improper decorum at the dinner table or be rowdy when they mingle with strangers. Circle of Moms members Chelsea H. who is an enforcer of good manners to her kids, said that her daughter learned to say 'thank you' by the age one.


Michelle Crouch, a mother of three, thought that her children were relatively well-mannered until her grandmother, who is always a model of decorum, came for dinner and Michelle saw their certain behaviors through her grandma’s eyes. She knows that it is about time to teach them some etiquettes but worried whether they are age-appropriate. Until she talked to manners expert and psychologists from across the country to know more.


Here are some guidelines in raising your preschooler to be polite and well-mannered:


Proper greetings




Toddler Years (1-2 years)


Before your children learn to speak, encourage your little one to wave hello and good-bye. It's the first step in teaching him how to recognize and greet people, says Sheryl Eberly, author of 365 Manners Kids Should Know. "One way to practice is to say good morning to each other every day," she adds. And don't forget to greet your spouse cheerfully when he gets home to set good example.



Simple Table Manners




Toddler Years (1-2 years)


Ask your toddler to remain seated while eating instead of letting him roam around the house. Teach him to sit in his booster seat or high chair even if it's just a snack. Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years said that, "At this age children have a short attention span, but 10 to 15 minutes strapped in a high chair will give them an important lesson: You sit at the table while you're eating." If he starts throwing his food, let him know there will be consequences. You can also take this time in teaching him to use a fork and a spoon, though most children won't master that until they're close to 3.


Preschoolers (3-5 years)


When your child reaches 3 years old, he should be able to eat with his spoon and fork. It is also the right time to start apply the basics like - use a napkin and not his sleeve; chew with his mouth closed; don't talk when his mouth is full; or sit up straight and will only be excused when he is done. For your child not to be overwhelmed, focus on one or two behaviors at a time, and allow him to have some fun.



Saying the polite words




Kristin G. started teaching her kids “common courtesies” like 'please,' 'thank you,' and 'you're welcome' at this age, but she's found repetition to be key.


"Excuse Me"


Preschoolers can learn the concept of not bumping into others, or moving over to let others by or after burping or passing gas, and say "excuse me," suggest Circle of Moms members, Jenni. She also constantly tell her children to 'Move over to the side please and let the lady pass," or say 'excuse me' if you want to get by."


Likewise, it is popular among preschoolers for wanting their parent’s attention right away. And they love to interrupt when elders are talking. But they can learn techniques for doing this politely, like saying ‘excuse me' when they are trying to get your attention. A Circle of Moms member Monique. And Karen B. shares that she taught her little girl to "put her hand on our arm if she needs to interrupt a conversation." In turn, the couple "put our hand on their child’s to acknowledge that she is there and let her know that we will address her as soon as possible.


" Please"


The great time to teach your preschooler the concept of “please", is when they want something. And the best way to get the habit, is by being a model yourself. Chelsea H., who has a two-year-old, learned to say 'please,' shares, "I have noticed since she started talking, my husband and I use our manners and are generally more polite than we were before, because we act the way we want our children to.”


"Thank You"


Learning how to be polite is when they received something. A Circle of Mom member, Alecia D. shared that her 17-month-old knows to say 'thanks' when she is given what she asked for, and now working on the more formal way of saying it. She believes that saying 'thank you' is very important.



Showing Kindness




Taking turns, not grabbing, and saying he's sorry if he hurts someone means kindness. When your child caught in a fight, avoid unclear reminders like saying "Be nice." Instead, talk to your child about what to do, so he will eventually have the words to work things out on his own. You can tell him that maybe his playmate is not yet done playing with certain toy and better ask his friend first if he is done. If your kid needs to apologize, ask him to say what he's sorry for, and talk about what he can do to help.



Behaving Appropriately in Public




When in public places, preschoolers are smart enough to know not to throw things or to "run around like wild animals". And teach your toddlers not to throw things. You can start to teach your kids responsibility in public places at a young age.


There are fun ways to improve manners among children, like create some games and give your child a reward. Some thank you notes could help them and brighten him up.


It's not easy to teach preschoolers manners, and is often a lengthy process that requires patience. But most agree that starting early is worthwhile: "Manners are very important for us to teach our children," says April J. "Better to teach our children now while they're young so that they learn that being polite is just a normal way to behave."





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