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I'm trying to teach my nephew some basic manners and boundaries, but I don't want to involve swatting or raised voices in the process. He understands me well enough for 20 months, but we have to make some serious progress here and now. Any suggestions out there for this first-time startup family?
By Daniel M.
What kind of particular manners are we talking about?
I would suggest beginning with please and thank you. Whenever he wants something, you have to show him the pattern: "milk, please?" or "I need to go potty please" when he doesn't use please on his own. Same with thank you. You hang onto whatever "it" is until he says thank you - milk cup for example. If he doesn't know what to say, you say "thank you?" and he will usually go, "oh, thank you." and you let him have whatever it is.
Biggest piece here is that YOU need to be very consistent with this - every time, every thing. He will catch on. You also have to reward the appropriate behavior - even just a big smile is a reward - every time. Hang in there!
What's approriate at this age is learning the meaning of and saying "please, thank you and you're welcome"; table manners; cleaning up behind themself; patience and sharing.
The secret of teaching anything is showing by consistent example because children mirror what they see from day to day. How can you expect a child to learn if you don't practice what you preach what you are trying to teach on a regular basis?
Show the child how to do a given task by doing it with them.
Be kind but be persistent and give praise when the child does well and don't unduly punish if they don't do well.
Most of all, make it fun instead of work.
A 20 moth old child should never be swatted. You can raise children without hitting them. Teach him by example and have patience. He is very young to learn more than please and thank you. Children learn thank you first because they connect the thanks with the giving. Please never hit him.