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Posts Tagged ‘teaching toddlers’


I recently took a trip to Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania with my fiancé and his family – he has two adorable nieces that were so well-behaved and had the best time in the amusement park. However, it was also a great reminder at how well-behaved his nieces are, and how so many parents have yet to teach their toddlers some basic manners. I don’t expect every toddler to be perfect, and think it’s not that much to ask for some basic manners (not to sound too old-fashioned). Every parent wants to raise a well-behaved child, but that sometimes feels like an impossible dream during the toddler years. pTwo- and 3-year-olds stomp their feet when they want something, crawl under the table during dinner, and snatch toys away from their friends. You might be tempted to put off teaching manners until this phase passes, but it’s the perfect time to begin.

In my opinion, when you start early, your child will learn that being polite and considerate is just the normal way people act. Just don’t expect instant perfection until your child understands the reason for politeness, he or she needs repetition and reinforcement from you.

  1. Kindness: Now that your child is old enough to play with other kids, it’s important to teach her to treat them fairly. While toddlers are naturally self-centered and possessive, they can tell the difference between “nice” and “not nice” behavior, such as grabbing a toy. Kids tend to get aggressive when they don’t know how to express themselves, so if your child starts hitting, take her aside and calmly explain that she has to use her words when she wants something. Tell her why her behavior is wrong, and ask her to apologize to her friend. To make sharing more appealing to your child, start by taking turns playing with a toy together. After her time is up, ask her nicely for the toy and have her do the same when it’s your turn.
  2. Please and Thank You: The magical words: Kids’ verbal skills improve rapidly now, so chances are that your little chatterbox can say “please” and “thank you.” Toddlers watch you closely and mimic what you say. Start small with simple gestures when the child is a toddler. If you want him to hand you something, extend your hand and say, “May I please have that?” When he hands it to you, thank him. Model good behavior by asking for things nicely in front of your child. If he yells “gimme,” ask him to say “please” before you let him have something. Practice “the magic words” often: Hand a toy back and forth and say “please” and “thank you” to each other.
  3. Table Manners: Your toddler may prefer to eat mashed potatoes by the handful, but the good news is that she’s developing the fine motor skills needed to use utensils and wipe her hands on a napkin. Start showing her how to eat properly. Say, “See how I hold my fork? Let me see you try.” Make helpful suggestions and remind her when she makes mistakes: “Let’s finish chewing before we talk,” or “When we burp, we say ‘excuse me.'”
  4. Meet-and-Greet: Your child can look at someone when they say “hello,” but it’s normal for them to freeze when faced with unfamiliar people and situations. If your child goes mute when he meets someone, give him a gentle reminder: “Max, say ‘hello’ to XYZ.” But don’t push it if he’s too shy. Modeling good behavior is more effective than forcing it.

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We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s just like riding a bike.” It sounds easy. But do you remember learning how to ride your first bike?  Was it easy? Did you crash? Did you cry? Did you smile with glee? Swear that you would never ride one again? Ha!

Here are some tips that may make it easier for your kids to learn to ride a bike.

Teaching Toddlers
Children can learn how to ride a bike at any age, but the younger the better. Try to start them as soon as they can walk – the hardest thing is to teach a child how to balance on a bike.

Toddlers can usually learn how to balance on a Hotwalk, a bike with no pedals, designed specifically for toddlers by Specialized. (It costs about $130 and can be bought at local bicycle shops.) This is a great first bike because it teaches kids to balance with their feet on the ground rather than on pedals.

Good Ole’ Training Wheels
Going the traditional route? There are also millions of kids who have used training wheels (also called “stabilizers”) to learn how to ride a bike successfully. Start your child on a 12-inch wheel bike with training wheels, and then slowly wean your kid from the back wheels.  It helps when you gradually raise the training wheels as your child gains confidence. The wheels should barely be touching the ground before your remove them off all together.

When the Wheels Come Off
Once the wheels come off, choose a safe site for your child’s “first ride.”  My personal favorite, which tends to be liked by many parents, is a flat, wide-open pavement area like a vacant parking lot or a school.

Here’s how you do it… hold the seat of the bike and give your child a little push. Once you give your child a little push, pedaling is KEY. Cheer your child on to keep pedaling! This is the way to continue balance. Tip: Don’t let go without telling your child. If he falls at a time that he felt he would be safe, you lose his trust. Also, it’s not safe for him to keep looking back over his shoulder to check on you.

It is natural to expect your child to fall – it’s all part of the learning experience. Make sure your child wears a helmet at all times for suitable protection. Remember – repeat, repeat, repeat! It is the key to mastering the bicycle.

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