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Q&A: How to Teach Manners?

How can I start to teach my two-year-old good manners?
ByJeanette Sawyer Cohen, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychology in pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City
Pediatric Psychologist
Updated
March 2, 2017
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Having what adults might think of as “good manners” is a completely foreign concept to most toddlers—it’s right up there with taxes and mortgages. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start to lay the groundwork early.

A two-year-old might not get why on earth he has to share his favorite toy with a friend on a playdate, or split a snack with a sibling, but you can clearly explain to him that he’ll have his own turn to play in one minute. First though, make sure you recognize that he’s upset. Say it out loud. Labeling his emotions helps validate his feelings, and the more specific you can be about the item and designating the length of time until he gets his toy back, the better. In the meantime, give him something else you know he likes to play with as a distraction.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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