Do you want your child to be polite in public? Do you want them to say “please” and “thank you” when they are offered things? If so, it is important that you begin teaching your child how to have appropriate manners early on. In fact, the earlier you begin teaching your child the better off you will be in the long run.
Disclosure: The opinions reflected in this post are based upon my own experience and opinions.
After my son was born, we began teaching him when it is appropriate to say please and thank you. We started teaching him baby sign language when he was about 6 months old and once he was capable of signing back the words he was taught, we would have him sign please if he wanted something and thank you if he received something.
As you already know, you have to say things over and over to a young child if you want them to catch on. For example, when your child wants a some milk, teach your child to say please before you hand over the cup of milk to your child. This will help your child make the connection and once your child is old enough to begin communicating then they will most likely begin mimicking the behavior. Don’t get discouraged if it takes your child a few weeks or months to catch on, keep encouraging your child to say please before they are handed something.
Once you hand over an item that your child asked for, now is the time to begin teaching your child how to say thank you. Make sure that you are consistent and say the phrase immediately after you hand something to your child. When you are consistent, you child will make the connection. Once they are old enough to communicate, then they will begin mimicking the behavior. Again, don’t get discouraged if they don’t immediately pick up on the new behavior. It takes time for a young baby or toddler to pick up new things they are learning.
If your child is anything like mine, he will begin using the words on a daily basis. He loves saying “thank you mommy” or will say thank you to who ever has recently done something for him. It is so sweet and adorable, I love hearing him be thoughtful and polite. In fact, I have gotten quite a few compliments while out in public about how polite my son is.
When teaching your child anything new, consistency is key. Infants and toddlers learn by modeling and repetition. In fact, it is important that you model behaviors that you want or expect your child to model. Do use each and every opportunity possible as a learning experience for your child. Encourage your child to begin using the new words in every possible situation including social situations with other people/children. Have fun and never pressure your child, I promise they will being using the words when they are ready. Do offer your child praise and words of encouragement when they do begin using the words on their own, you want to encourage them to continue using good manners.
Does your child say “please’ and “thank you”?