4 Manners Your Toddler Should Practice for the Holiday Season

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Image adapted via Flickr/ storyvillegirl

I was at the grocery store one afternoon with my three children (I only had three at the time), and I had a young woman come up to me. She looked at my kids, and I expected to hear one of the many phrases people often spout to me when I am out and about with my kids: “Are they all yours?” “You have your hands full,” etc. But what was said to me was a little different.

“Your kids are so well behaved!” the woman said in a surprised tone. “How do you get such young kids to act like that?” she continued.

I thought for a moment. While it wasn't a phrase I anticipated receiving from the stranger while running a mundane errand, it wasn't the first time my kids' behavior had been pointed out to me in a positive light.

{ MORE: Check Out These Snuggly Holiday Gifts, Perfect for a Cold Night! }

My answer back: “Because I expect them to be well behaved.”

Manners is one of the parenting things I don't let slip. Messy hair? Don't care. Don't want to eat their vegetables? Not a big issue right now in my book. But rudeness and acting like they're the center of the world? Not OK. My kids are far from perfect, but having great manners is a skill my husband and I put near the top of our parenting list, so we're always teaching, modeling, and going over the importance of them.

Since it's the holiday season, manners are going to be tested in your toddlers, and while you can't expect perfection all the time, there are some manners you should go over with them again before the gift giving begins.

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Image via Flickr/ storyvillegirl

Please and Thank You

This is one of those manners I find so important for kids because it shows that they respect others, and that's a good thing. Around the holidays, where there is so much going on and so much gift giving and celebrating, Pleases and Thank Yous can go a really long way.

{ MORE: How to Decode Toddler Behavior }

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Image via Flickr/ sleepyjeanie

Patience

This is a hard one for kids — especially for toddlers and even more so during the holidays when they're excited. There's a lot going on, and, well, presents. You can help your child learn this important skill by explaining why they're waiting and that doing so will allow everything to run more smoothly and be more fun.

{ MORE: How to Stop Toddler Aggression }

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Image via Flickr/ Philippe Put

Be Polite

One may think that being polite is the same as manners, but I think politeness is just one of the most important manners for kids to learn because it's more how something is said (which is politeness) verses how something is done (which I would consider to be manners). Teach your toddler to be gracious when accepting a gift or to be kind in their words when turning down the carrots at the dinner table. It's something that will need to be addressed a few times and again before they master it, but it's so important.

{ MORE: Does Your Baby Have a Holiday Birthday? Check Out These Tips to Make it Special! }

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Image via Flickr/ storyvillegirl

Don't Interrupt

The holidays mean a lot of friends and family will be around, engaged in fun conversations, and toddlers love to be in the middle of conversations. Teaching your toddler not to interrupt will not be easy and will require a lot of correction and patience on your end, but it's an important thing for them to remember during this season.

{ MORE: Taking A Baby to a Wedding (& Other Places Grown Folks Go) }

What manners do you feel are most important for kids to know around this time of year? Share in the comments!

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4 Manners Your Toddler Should Practice for the Holiday Season

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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