Teaching manners to a toddler is, to borrow the expression from my husband, anything but roses and sunshine. When Whit was smaller and not yet speaking we taught him to say "Please" and "Thank You" using sign language. Even now he will use the hand motion when he says "pees" but simply intones "thank you."
As Whit's second birthday approaches he is beginning to use multi-word sentences. The general crux of his statements? "Mama, I NEED ______!"
Thus begins Manners 101. I'm starting by patiently restating "Whit, let's say: Mama, may I please have _________" followed by "thank you." We've been on this track for about 3 days and last night I had one small success. After yelling across the house at me "Mama, I need watee (water)!" I walked over toward him said "How do we ask for water? Mama, may I have some water, please?" And I got in response "pees, watee?" in a very quite voice. A small step, but an important one.
Another difficult life lesson that we have recently discussed is teaching Whit that things will not always go his way. I'm not quite sure how he will handle the day when he asks "pees" and I say "no" (more on that later.)
It is our hope that we can model for Whit acceptance of those life events that do not go as planned or in a pleasant way. We hope that we can teach him grace and grow in him the ability to always see the bright side, take the positives from a bad situation, and know that God has a perfect plan for him.