Teaching simple manners to kids like not picking their noses and chewing with their mouths closed can seem like a herculean task though it is not true. Your 2-4 year olds are quick at adapting things, and when you start giving them ideas and distinguish between good and bad behaviours, you actually let your toddler know what you like and what you do not, and he continues to test and weigh your reactions to things he does. They catch on thongs faster at this tender age, and if you do want to make your child a well behaved individual, your time starts now.
Some tips on inculcating good behaviour sense in toddlers:
Basics First: No, your toddler is not going to be an etiquette freak in light seconds, though his grasping powers are very high at this age. Stick to basics first, introducing simple words and them slowly graduating to expand the etiquette base. However, as parents, you need to ensure that you are always being polite and well-behaved in front of him.
Practice What You Preach: Nothing above this, this forms the mantra to shape your toddler the way you want to. At this age of 2-4 years, all your little angel wants is to behave like his Maa and Paa. He absorbs every single piece of conversation and action, and replicates the same throughout his life. Make sure that he gets to hear a polite language, and courteous speech and voila! Half your job is already done.
Be Persistent And Consistent: Make your little one say simple Thank Yous’ and Pleases’ every time a situation desires so. Make sure that he understands that he needs to use these words every time someone does or gives something to him or he asks for something. You need to be consistent in your behaviour as well to give him a fair idea that this is how it works.
Setting Expectations: Let your child know what you consider as a good behaviour, and what you do not appreciate. This will enable your child understand that when he behaves nicely, Mommy loves him, and she doesn’t like it when he picks his nose. At his age, all he wants is that his parents love him, and he will happily behave for it!
Practice Role-plays: Toddlers love role-playing, and you can also make the understand manners being a part of it. Be the neighbour next door, and let him be his Dad; “So Dad says Hello to Aunty, and asks her How is she doing?”, etc, will help your child pick up these small and simple things, though these can backfire too sometimes; when he refuses to face the “Aunty” and hides behind you. Will happen, so stay calm.
Take Your Child On A Play Date: A toddler’s priceless possession is his toy basket, and he loves the words Me, Mine, My. To inculcate sharing and politeness in him, take him on a play date and tell him that toys need to be shared, and every kid will have a turn. He might resist it at first, but with your guidance will soon start behaving like a gentle-man.
Never Forget To Praise Your Child: Telling a toddler that he’s been a good boy at today’s dinner party, and everyone was talking good about him is a sure way to seal the deal. Though, overdoing is not recommended, nice words now and then do not hurt anyone. Do not make him feel that by behaving he is doing something above normal.
Lastly,do remember that this is a toddler of 2-4 years whom we are talking about. There will be backsliding, and some moments of anguish, but your behaviour at this time will either break or make the deal. Stay cheerful about it, and enjoy the sweet and sour experience of parenting.