Posted: Jan 15, 2013 8:00 AM
While getting your toddler to remember to put the toilet seat down may be a few years off, youngsters can still teach kids to be polite and respectful in early infancy. From coaching kids proper table manners to being a good role model, discover five tips on how to teach your child manners.

Start early

It's never too early to teach kids good manners, starting with using please and thank you even before your tot can talk. Taking turns with toys, sitting down properly to eat and even instructing your youngster not to hit others are all good manners that should be schooled from babyhood.

Practice at home

Using dinner time and story time to practice good manners is an easy way to take baby steps to raising a polite child. While no toddler or preschooler will be eager to sit for 45 minutes from the get-go, start with a 5-minute time limit and increase the period your youngster can practice sitting still, waiting her turn to speak and asking to be excused.

Lay down the rules

Your kids aren't born knowing what's expected of them, so make sure to let them know the rules and behavior expected of them, especially when it's likely the guidelines change for each situation. Whether his grandparents are coming to visit and you want him to properly greet them or you're on your way to a playdate, prompting your child to be polite and practice sharing beforehand is part of the package.

Establish sensitivity

Regardless of how relentlessly you teach kids to be polite, the root of good manners begins with the awareness of how others feel. According to the well-known Dr. Sears, molding your youngsters to be sensitive towards the feelings of others leads to respect, and in turn, good manners. When your child cares for another's feelings, it will instinctively help prompt politeness.

Lead by example

There's no better role model than yourself when it comes to teaching kids to be polite. Especially when their little eyes and ears are nearby, remember to use the good manners you want your kiddo to emulate. And, don't be afraid to bring your gold-star behavior to their attention so your youngster can pull from real life situations while learning the nuts and bolts of being polite.

Now that you understand how to teach your child manners, chances are your tot will need a few reminders along the way. So, use patience and get ready to repeat yourself about politeness and proper table manners, because good manners take practice!

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