Helping Toddlers Be Polite
Politeness is not something which can be learned in a day. The crucial character-building trait of politeness starts at the early age of a child, carefully influenced by the parents. It is one of the defining characteristics of an individual and even though children come with lots of innate qualities, behaving politely is certainly not one of them. It is the duty of the parents to teach their little ones how to behave politely in the society. Let us go through several ways in which we can teach our young ones how to be polite individuals.
Be a Mirror: Kids learn by mimicking your behavior. So be careful about the kind of behavior you are displaying in your day-to-day life. Say thanks to you to your child when they pass the salt during dinner time and keep away from swear words. Modeling the correct behavior can leave an imprint on your child’s impressionable mind, encouraging them to do the same in their day to day life.
Be consistent: Make sure you and your partner, the child’s caregiver or grandparents are on the same page while implementing a rule on your child. If you allow the child to watch tv during food and your spouse doesn't, it may lead to confusion on the child's mind, and the child will not be clear about what is expected out of you. Be consistent in your rules and consequences and exercise a lot of reinforcement
Basic Manners: Basic manners and etiquettes like clean table manners, discouraging throwing food or spitting, saying please and thank you, sharing food or toy with siblings or playdates, and apologizing when the child misbehaves should be introduced early on in the child’s life, so that they come naturally to them when they grow up.
Being Sensitive: Educate the child about being sensitive towards natural disabilities or specially-abled individuals or be polite irrespective of color, size, and appearance. Children are generally too unfiltered with their thoughts and not very tactful. Discourage them from making rude comments in public like, ‘Mom, why is that women so fat?’ or ‘Why is that boy limping?’, and address these topics in the privacy of your home, letting them know that everyone is different and special in their own way. Refrain from excuses like, ‘He is just a kid’, as this will give your child the hall pass to make similar comments again in future.
Stranger Manners: Encourage your child to open up to people outside of the household, whenever there is a social gathering. If your child is shy and preferred to hold your hand and stand by you the whole evening, try to introduce them subtly to kids of her age so that she can slowly warm up to them. Teach them how they could appropriately introduce themselves and shake hands. Also, teach your child how to talk on phone properly, and how disturbing when you are on phone is rude.
Playdates: Organising playdates can be beneficial for the child, as it is a great opportunity to practice manners. Set your expectations in front of your child, remind her to say her please and thank yous, and practice sharing. Here's how to ensure your child is on his best behavior. Step in when required. There might be a few trials and errors but when the manner become habits, it will be smooth sailing.
Even though teaching a young one to be polite might be a bit challenging, remember that you are contributing towards creating a civilized society for the future and it is one of the prime responsibilities of the parents to do so. Ill-mannered and rude individuals create disturbance in a society and are beneficial for no one in particular. Let's come together and raise polite children!