How to Raise a Polite Preschooler
We all want our kids to be polite and to learn how to interact with both other kids and adults. It’s amazing how early they can be great conversationalists if you give them the chance. My little Grant is a bit more active (the fun age of 2.5) and I’ve been working on him to actually listen and have a conversation.
Here are things that actually worked:
Give them a minute to think and answer. If your friend asks your son (or daughter) about his first day of school, give him a moment to answer before instructing him to do so. “Telling” your child to answer a question is the best way to get him to do exactly the opposite. Man, I used to immediately say, “Grant, tell her how your day was! Tell her about your friends.” I now learned to give him time and he ends up saying it more confidently.
Use please and thank you at home…always. Be sure that you are using the same language you expect of your children when talking to them and to your spouse. Children are great at mimicking so give them something valuable—and consistent— to model. It’s so cute, my niece keeps saying, “yes, you may” because my sister uses that all the time. I used to say, “thank ya” in a silly way and they started copying that. I now say it normally in the way they should while speaking to others.
Point out polite people. If you stop to talk with a particularly polite child or come across a kind character in a book or on TV, point him out to your child and explain why the behavior is exemplary. This will help your child better understand what is expected of him. “Wow, she is so nice! Did you see how she kept the door open for others behind her? So great!”
Give him time. Being shy is not the same thing as being impolite. Help your child take baby steps to becoming more comfortable talking with others. Strong eye contact and that adorable smile go a long way and should also be celebrated!
What are things you do?