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Your 2-year-old now
Your child is definitely old enough to learn – and practice – some of the social graces. Some tips on how to help:
- Start with "please" and "thank you." If she hasn't picked up these words naturally, make sure she hears you using them: "Will you please come here?" Don't be afraid to prompt: "Can you say thank you?" Repetition will make these words a habit.
- Be kind yourself. Modeling consideration of others will show her the ropes. Let her hear you say, "How are you?" and "Excuse me."
- Connect actions to consequences. Help your child see that a gift of flowers can cheer someone up, or that hitting or making mean comments makes the other person sad.
- Cut your child some slack when she's ill. Or tired.
- Keep your expectations realistic. The right fork to use? Sharing graciously? Fuhgeddaboutit!
Your life now
Fairy tales teach important concepts to kids, but you might have never noticed how scary they can be until you start to read them or tell them to your child. Big bad wolves and mean witches who pop children into ovens may sound far more terrifying than you remember.
Should you modify these stories to protect your little one? It depends on your child and the story. Many fairy tales actually teach children to cope with fears (Hansel and Gretel get lost, for example). And in the struggles over good and evil, the good guys always win. If you're really uncomfortable, of course, your child won't know any difference if you change a few words here and there (at least not until your partner or babysitter reads the same story!).
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