Ask nicely

Oh, if we would only stop and really listen to the way we talk to toddlers.

“Jared, don’t do that.”

“Kali, wait.”

“Kraig, don’t throw that.”

“Stop it.”

“Come here.”

Toddlers learn a few words early on and they are not usually “please” or “thank you”.  They mimic what they hear and adults often communicate enough to get the job done, but without a lot of thought to the number of words. Efficiency is there, but the children are learning to give commands.




~ Behave in the manner you expect

This is not an easy task. Often times parents have a point they need to get across in a hurry and that is all that matters.  However, if we begin with infant speech and continue on with the process becomes easier and more a of habit. It may sound silly at first, but experts agree, it works.

“Thank you for waking up so happy.  I know you got a good rest”

“Please let me change that diaper. You will feel better.”

“Good morning, I am happy to see you today.”

These are full on sentence that parents use on a daily basis with their infants. It sets a precedence and gets the parent prepare for those toddler years.

~ Play the parrot game

Parrots repeat what they hear.  So, when a two year old says “Uppy, Mommy” and holds up his hands be almost like a parrot. “Please pick me up Mom” and pick the child up. Often times the child will join in the game.  After the child is in your arms.  “Thanks, Mom”.  “You’re welcome, Clifton.” This precludes the tactic of what do you say.  This is the process of teaching them what to say. “You’re welcome, Clifton.”

~ Give the child a vocabulary

It is important that a child has many good words to choose from.  “Please be nice” is good and in some cases “Please be gentle” is better.  Turn the words around from a request to an observation. “I like the way you are being gentle.”

“We will be warm with our coats on.”

“We can go outside with our shoes on.”

“Can you find your socks?”

~ Reward often

Many parents get a little confused about rewards.  We don’t want to raise a generation of children who think they earned a toy or treat every time they behave in an appropriate manner. So be creative with rewards.

Verbal praise is a great reward.  Tell children you are proud of them and you like the way they did something.

Read to them an extra five minutes because they were so kind today.

Go for a walk because we were polite with our words today.

Here is the bottom line.Parents who stop for a minute a think before they speak always get better results.



7 thoughts on “Ask nicely

  1. I so agree with you about parroting, repeating & rewarding. Littles don’t come with a ready made vocab so need all the help we can give them.

  2. I know this sounds silly, but I screamed at two of my cats this morning and I still feel like poop for it. My daughter is grown and my grand-babies live about 4 hours away, so I tend to savor every moment and try not to get irritated with them at all when I get to visit them.

  3. I am sort of a dictator anyway! At least when it comes to saying “no”. I really mean it. Thanks for visiting and commenting Haralee.

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