6 Ways to Teach Your Toddler How To Be Respectful

How can you get your child to respect you and your values when it seems as if they are entitled to everything they want?  When I was growing up, I always had to earn the things I was given. My parents taught me the reality that money does not grow on trees and wanted to teach me all about its value.  If I wanted extra things, I either had to figure out a way to earn the money to buy it or I  had to wait until Christmas or my birthday for the opportunity to ask for whatever it was I wanted.


Kids today seem to feel a sense of entitlement.  There are more demands for material things or trouble might lurk as a result of boredom. Sometimes that in turn leads to disrespect and other unwarranted behaviors. That is why it’s very important to teach them while they’re young.

Start Teaching Your Child at a Young Age

I started teaching my children how to be respectful at a very young age.  Young children are like a sponge and will soak up anything that you are willing to teach them.  At a young age, many children may not comprehend the words that you are teaching them but over time they will start to connect the words to the action that you have been working on teaching your child.  Teaching your child how to say please and thank you is a perfect example and this is something that I began teaching my own child before he could even talk.  I would use baby sign language and spoken language to teach my son how to say simple phrases like please, thank you, more, finished, drink, and eat.

Practice What You Are Teaching Your Child

Children are similar to those talking parrots, they will mock you and say the same things that you do if you aren’t careful.  If you are trying to teach your child how to be respectful, then it is very important that you model those behaviors in front of your child.  If you don’t, your child will think that it is okay to be disrespectful to other people.

Do Offer Praise Often

Many children respond very well to positive reinforcement.  It is very important that you praise your child when they caught are using their good manners and being respectful to others.  Make sure that you praise your child as soon as they demonstrate the behavior, that you expect of them, this will reinforce what you have been teaching your child.

Correct Bad Behavior Immediately

If you child is being disrespectful, it is important that you stop what you are doing and address the issue immediately, even if you are in the store shopping or hanging out in a public place.  Pull your child off to the side, if possible move to a quiet spot, so that you can talk to your child without any distractions.  Tell your child that you are not happy with their choice of words or actions.  Always make your child apologize for their unwanted behavior. Remember that young children have a short attention span and if you wait too long to discipline them, they may not remember what they even did wrong.

Be Patient

Teaching your child how to be respectful takes a lot of time, practice, and patience.  You can’t expect that your child learn how to be respectful overnight; however, with consistency it is possible for your toddler to be able to demonstrate good manners and to be polite at home and in public.  Continue to reinforce what you are teaching your child even if it takes years for them to catch on and for them to be respectful.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell Your Child “No”

Parents don’t be afraid to tell your child that he or she can’t get the newest toy or video game that was released.  As a parent, you have to take care of your child’s basic needs but giving into all of their wants in life makes children except to be handed everything they want in life.  Instead, allow your child to earn additional things that they might want and teach them about delayed gratification.  However, even if children want something for their birthday or holiday they shouldn’t expect to get everything on their wish list.

Parent’s would you rather spend years teaching your child how to be respectful or have a disrespectful child who throws a fit every time they don’t get their way?