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Manners for Toddlers

It's never too early to encourage your child to be polite. Begin with these four basics.
pudgy toddler holding stuffed animal

Every parent wants to raise a well-behaved child, but that sometimes feels like an impossible dream during the toddler years. Two- and 3-year-olds stomp their feet when they want something, crawl under the table during dinner, and snatch toys away from their friends. You might be tempted to put off teaching manners until this phase passes, but it's the perfect time to begin.

"When you start early, your child will learn that being polite and considerate is just the normal way people act," says Donna Jones, author of Taming Your Family Zoo: Six Weeks to Raising a Well-Mannered Child. Luckily, your toddler can now follow simple directions and is eager to please you. Another bonus: He's beginning to develop the habits and patterns of behavior that he'll keep for life. Just don't expect instant perfection until your child understands the reason for courtesy, he needs repetition and reinforcement from you. Get started with these simple concepts.