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Busting Bratty Behavior

Age 1 to 2: Don't expect much

Even young toddlers can begin to learn the basics of polite behavior. Just don't expect them to fully understand—or practice—what you're teaching right now.

Make manners part of the conversation. Thinking about other people's feelings is the root of politeness, so encourage your child to do this. Explain that when you help the neighbor search for her lost keys in the playground, she feels good and so do we. Point out how kind the cashier in the supermarket is. Talking to young children about caring for others helps them absorb this value without fully understanding it.

Next: Age 2 to 3: Civilization dawns