Thursday, April 25, 2013

Toddler Tactic #4 -Specific Requests

I hope to teach my children to have good manners so that they can have a lifetime of successful relationships.  Children learn how to use the words please and thank you from their parents only if the parents use those words themselves. So, unless I'm having an unusually grumpy day, I always try to frame my requests as questions. "Excuse me Riker, will you please clean up your toys?"  As a result, I regularly hear Riker say, "excuse me mama." 

Which reminds me of another helpful Toddler Tactic - always make requests as specific as possible.  "Riker, please put the books on the shelf." Once that's completed, I'll ask for the train tracks to go into the box and then for the blocks to go into the middle drawer. These step by step instructions are easier for a small child to follow than a generic, "clean up your toys!"

With young toddlers I've also found the phrase "let's" to be very useful. 'Please' can lose some of its effectiveness if it takes on a pleading tone - "Would you PLEEEEEASE clean up this mess!?" On the other hand, "let's clean up the toys together" is much more likely to actually get the task accomplished and it models partnership and camaraderie.  Anything that gets the job done and keeps both parties feeling happy is a win in my book!

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