Please Don't Do That! How to Handle Inappropriate Toddler Behavior

Teaching Kids to Say "Excuse Me"

It's never too early for kids to learn the magic words -- just don't stop at "please" and "thank you"! "Excuse me" is a must-know phrase for gaffe-prone toddlers. Here's how to make it stick.

Cover all its uses. Tell her to say "excuse me" if she accidentally does something private in front of others (like burping), as well as when she interrupts or bumps into someone.

Don't forget to excuse yourself. It's much easier for your child to learn manners if you always use yours.

Include the phrase in pretend play. For example, have a stuffed animal excuse himself if he behaves inappropriately at your child's next tea party.

Don't force an "excuse me." It's more effective to praise your child when she says it than to argue when she doesn't.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the April 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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