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Oh, Behave!

We all want our little ones to have good manners. But we can’t expect them to learn them all at once! According to Dr. Christy Stamen, a Plano psychologist, the most important thing to keep in mind when teaching manners is being a role model yourself. Here’s a breakdown of behavioral milestones for your tot:

You want them to what? Say “please” and “thank you”

Age to start: According to Stamen, kids can start learning this as infants.

Why now: Parents can model this behavior for the little ones through sign language—before they’re even talking—and they’ll understand.

You want them to what? Practice table manners

Age to start: Infant to 1 year.

Why now: It may be a few years before they understand a proper place setting, but according to Stamen, when kids are in a high chair they can learn basics, like not throwing food.

You want them to what? Learn boundaries, like determining personal space and when to say “yes” and “no”

Age to start: 1-2 or when they’re walking

Why now: Stamen says the most important reason to learn manners is because kids treat people how they want to be treated. They don’t take some else’s toy because they don’t want their own taken away.

You want them to what? Learn to share

Age to start: 7 years old

Why now: At this age, kids begin to understand the concept of fairness. Along the way, says Stamen, positive reinforcement is key … so anytime your child lets her sister borrow a doll, encourage her.