Basic Manners to Teach Children
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Basic Table Manners
- What to expect: By age 3, your child will be able to eat with a spoon and fork, stay seated at the table for 15 to 20 minutes, and wipe his mouth with a napkin.
- What to do: During toddlerhood, offer your child his food on a small, no-break plate; encourage him to use his utensils; discourage him from throwing food by telling him, “We don’t throw food on the floor. If you don’t want any more, please say ‘no thank you.'”
Please and Thank You
- What to expect: An 18-month-old may be able to say the words but not necessarily grasp their true meaning. By 2 1/2, kids can link the word to the concept.
- What to do: If your child hasn’t gotten into the habit, gently prompt him by saying, “What do we say after we get a gift?” or “What do we say when someone gives us a treat?”
- What to expect: At around 2, a child begins to understand the concept of sharing and turn-taking — though he won’t necessarily relish doing either!
- What to do: Encourage your toddler to share with his friends on play dates by giving him two similar toys and helping him offer one to his friend.
- What to expect: Though a toddler of about 18 months has a basic understanding of empathy, he can’t really understand why he’s expected to apologize. By 2 1/2 to 3, he’ll understand the concept but may be too caught up in his own affairs to do it on his own.
- What to do: When your child snatches a toy from a playmate, discourage the behavior and play on his empathy: “We don’t hit; hitting hurts.” Then, prompt him to apologize: “When we hurt someone, we say, ‘I’m sorry.'”