Teaching Toddler Manners

Now that Norton’s toddler communication skills are a little more up to speed, I’ve been shifting my focus.  You see, he can use words to express ideas and desires… so now we’re working on getting him to use his words to express what he wants using the best toddler manners that his level of language can handle.  Obviously, at this point in time, toddler manners don’t include the expectations of saying “May I be excused?” when he’s done eating.  Considering Norton’s level of toddler communication tops out at two words, that’s a little unreasonable.

Here’s what we are doing to encourage toddler manners.

Okay, so we’re not ready for a five star restaurant yet.

When Norton is done with his meal and I’m running about cleaning things, he’ll sometimes scream.  I go in and I remind him that Mommy doesn’t understand screaming and to please use words.  Then he’ll tell me “dow” and I put him down to run off.

When he wants something, I do have to remind him to use words.  This morning, he wanted a granola bar (or “guy-oh-ya”).  When I got it down and started to open it, he said “My!” (That’s Norton speak for “mine.”  He doesn’t end words in consonants.)  I reminded him that manners are important with a simple, “No, we say ‘please.’”

He responded with “Pee?”

And that’s when he got his half of a granola bar.  I reminded him to say “Thank you” (“gee-koo”) , which he did before running off with his snack.

So far, our lessons in toddler manners are limited to using words to ask for things and saying “please” and “thank you.”  Sometimes I’m pretty sure that the lessons are sinking in because he’ll walk up to me when I’m having a snack and say “pee?”

Of course, he gets a bite for that.  Who can resist something so adorable?

How are you teaching toddler manners in your household?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. He sounds like a sweetie!

  2. awwww….the lovely manner times….I recall doing that with my now 3-year-old son. Everything worked rather well until his 3rd birthday…we left the terrible two’s behind.

    I soon discovered “two” was a walk in the park. My son had now entered the “three-nage zone. He is already practicing his teen skills. He has mastered ignoring us when talking to him, the words “mine” have new meaning and he can even growl at us when he gets mad. I think he will make an excellent teenager.

    He still does say thank you and please for getting things for him…so i guess it was worth it. All in the life of a stay-at-home dad…. 🙂


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