Teaching Your Toddler the P’s and Q’s of Good Manners

Toddler Manners

A toddlers world is a world of give me’s.  It’s part of their everyday vocabulary. It’s a parent’s nightmare. No parent wants an ill-mannered, disrespectful child.

Good manners are tricky. Please and thank you are the top priority manners a toddler needs to learn. As a parent, you have to teach your child their P’s and Q’s. It’s like a game of give and take. Make learning manners fun.

One of my favorite games I played with my toddler was pass the peas please. This is a simple game to teach your toddler to say please. For this funtastic learning game you’ll need ten green peas. This game is best played at the kitchen table. It can get messy!

Of course make sure your playing surface is clean. Your toddler will probably be a little resistant to this game. Take the peas and put them on your side. This is where the fun of learning good manners comes into play and a lot of patience.

Offer your child a pea while saying please. Your toddler will make an effort to either snatch the pea from your hand or say give me now. Don’t give in. Take the pea back and offer two peas, repeating the same routine until your toddler has mastered the word please. You’ll probably go through all ten peas, but it’s well worth it.

Now the real fun begins, you have to get the peas back. This is how you teach your toddler to say thank you. The hard part is getting your toddler to turn loose of the peas or not eat them first. Approach your child by saying “may I have a pea please?” If your toddler offers a pea, reciprocate by saying thank you. Repeat until you have all ten peas once again. At this point in the game you’re child may get frustrated, but don’t give up. You’re toddler is almost there.

The final step is to get your child to ask for the peas back using please. Once your child does, get them to repeat the word thank you once you hand them the pea. By the end of the game, your toddler will have learned how to use please and thank you. They’ll also have ten green peas to eat or smash!

Not only are you teaching your toddler good manners, you’re teaching them to eat healthy and they don’t even know it.


  1. Tough Cookie Mommy says

    This is a such a great post. My husband and I have always considered it a top priority to make sure that both of our boys exhibit good manners at all times. There is just something wonderful about children who mind their manners.

    • Debra Ann Gray-Elliott says

      Thank you both for your kind comments. It’s not easy teaching a toddler manners, but it does help a lot to be creative. Peas are a great way to start. You can also use cereal or snack crackers.

  2. Viccy H says

    Great idea – fun & educational (and yummy!!!)
    My 4 year old son still needs prompting but he’s getting there so might get the peas out tomorrow
    Thank you

  3. Grandma Bonnie says

    Oh my goodness why didn’t I think of that. I am going to share this with my children. They can use it on my grandchildren. Thanks for sharing.

  4. T. Marie says

    What a great game. I wish I would have know about while I was teaching my son. Luckily he is all caught up on his manners and even tells me if i forget a please or thank you.

  5. Corinne says

    What a wonderful game to introduce manners! We’re past the toddler stage but I am going to remember this to share with my friends who have younger kids. Such a clever idea!

  6. Pam says

    That sounds like such a fun game to introduce manners. My kids are beyond this point now but I still sometimes think they need a game like this to remember their manners.

  7. Growing UP Madison says

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I’m going to try this with my toddler who likes to snatch things. Loving this idea. :)

  8. Melinda Dunne says

    I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to manners. I make my son open the doors in buildings and thing for me and for others. He has been really good about having good manners but I have always expected that. I think it is really important to teach kids manners, as well as, gratitude. It it important in the world of “give me” that they appreciate what they get.

  9. Stormy Gonzalez says

    This is a cute game ot practice manners! We are super sticklers for manners here, so even my 16m knows her please-&-thank yous. Just out of pure practice. My 6 year old even totally reminds me when I forget to ask about the drive-thru-person’s day after they ask about mine. Manners are so rare nowadays, it’s good to have reminders like this. =D


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