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Getting my 17 month old to say please

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
So, I guess I let it go too long and now, he knows what it means, and knows how to sign it and say it but refuses. I don't think I've ever heard him say it when I ask. How do I deal with this? he says lots of other words, but throws a hissy fit when I tell him to say please for something. Today, he wanted to nurse, but would just fuss, so I wouldn't nurse him until he said please, or signed it. I finally just said to him if he would sign "milk" please then he could nurse. He went all day just distracting himself and didn't get to nurse and then at bed time, I just didn't give him the opportunity to fuss about it and took him in his room and nursed him to sleep. He passed out because he missed his nap earlier. Am I going about this wrong? Should I keep on him about saying please? I don't want him to think that if he fusses he'll get his way. I always thought he was too young to understand, but then realized that he did understand, and just didn't want to say it. Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 30
Honestly, i don't think its worth the battle. Just say in a nice voice, "You can say Please Mama" and go about your business. If he does it great, if he doesn't that's OK too. Give him a high five or something when he says it. Often, when I ask my daughter to say please when she wants to nurse she signs it after she's latched on. I always acknowledge it with thank you. Modeling is key, so use it yourself with him and others. Can I have a bit please, Please show my your toy... I think modeling is more important. I don't think having a battle over it is going to help. Just let it go and keep on modeling and giving him the opportunity to say/sign it.
post #3 of 30
Wow, I didn't know you could get 17m old to ask nicely for things! My lo just screamed for everything at that age. And if she didn't get right away, she freaked. Everything was soo urgent. People say two is a contrary age, but, man, my lo is soo much more reasonable at two than she was at 17months. If she whines and points I remind her gently to "say can I please have ...." and she totally gets it.
post #4 of 30
Wow, I think it's way too young to expect a 17mo to say "please". Just model the language you want to use in your family and it will come about eventually. If he asks for something in a way you don't like, you can rephrase how you'd like him to say it, but forcing or expecting him to say "please" will set up a lot of conflict between you and your ds at this age.
post #5 of 30
Not an age-appropriate expectation.

Some 17-month olds are not even TALKING and the part of the brain responsible for understanding the idea of behaving in a "good" way or in a "bad" way is not fully developed before18 months.

You can of course encourage him to say please by doing it yourself when appropriate and by repeating what he wants with a please at the end so that he eventually learns.
post #6 of 30
I think you have to decide how important saying please is to you in the big scheme of things. I agree with AKislandgirl about it perhaps not being worth the battle.....just now. I always tell parents to pick their battles as that always leave you in control and not to view it as giving in. Children need guidance about everything but they also need to learn how to express themselves. It is a fine line we walk as parents.......lol!!
post #7 of 30
We sign please. Jack wont say it either
post #8 of 30
I waited until DS could say it consistently before "requiring" him to say it. I would just ask him to say please, and if he doesn't, don't worry about it.. but once he starts catching on and saying it more, then you can start requiring him to say it. 17 months is definitely on the early side. My DS was saying it frequently by then, but he also had 150 other words he was saying at the time. Every child is different and what is developmentally appropriate for one is not for another. I think your child is not ready for this just yet.
post #9 of 30
I never even thought to have mine say please
post #10 of 30
I've asked my 16mo to say it but he doesn't want to, and I don't see the point in forcing it or 'requiring' it at such a young age -- especially for something like nursing. It does drive me nuts that he is so rude & insistent asking for things like nursing but I just keep reminding myself that he's still a baby, and it's not fair to deprive him or make a big deal out of it yet. When he can consistently say it without prompting then maybe it would be OK to 'require' it (or at least request it) when he forgets... though I still feel it should come more naturally, not be forced out...
post #11 of 30
I think if you "insist" on it, you're setting yourself up for a big power struggle. Kids learn courtesy and manners by your good example and gentle repetition, without you having to make a big issue out of it.

But in any case, 17 months is way too young for this kind of expectation. He's still just a baby, and fussing when he wants something is still a very developmentally appropriate way of communicating. A lot of kids this age don't even talk at all. If it were me, I would be very thankful that my child was able to communicate his wants and needs in an understandable way at all, and give the pleases and thank yous some time. If you feel strongly about please, say it for him-- "oh, you want to nurse? We say 'please nurse.' Okay, baby, come here and let's nurse." Over time, and with your gentle repetition of this sort of thing, he'll get the idea. And when he does say please, say something like, "I like when you say please to me."

In my experience, the ability to ask politely is something that comes slowly between 18 months and 3 years. Sometimes they do it, and sometimes they don't, and when they don't, a gentle reminder is all that's needed. If you dig your heels in on this, and start a struggle about it, you may be asking for trouble-- most toddlers can out-stubborn their parents any day, and the end result of course is a kid who didn't nap, didn't nurse, and didn't give in, either.

My kids are 5, 3, and 3 now, and I do insist that they phrase their requests politely, when they can. Sometimes they are clearly so frazzled or upset that they need me to just intervene, but most of the time they are able to calm themselves and ask nicely. But there's a big difference between a three year old and a baby still only 17 months old.
post #12 of 30
i HATE the words "i want" so for my boys whenever they say "i want" we gently remind them, "how do we ask for what we want?" and they say, "can i please" or in my toddler's case, "please have"... but modeling is SO important. because they only know what the answer to "how do we do that?" by seeing how WE do that... "insisting", imho, is silly because they're whole people, learning their way, and TELLING them to say or do anything is kind of intrusive and oppressive. THAT'S MY PERSONAL PARENTING PHILOSOPHY, THO, and i don't want to make it sound like i think that's how everyone should think...

i DO think its reasonable to remind them that that's how YOU do things... and when my kids ask for something they ALWAYS say "can i please" (whether they say it first or with a reminder) and then i fuss over them, "OH MY GOODNESSS, HOW POLITE! OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE..... SINCE YOU ASKED SOOOOO NICELY!" and they REALLY like when i talk like that. if they say "i want" "give me" etc with my oldest, i put it into a conversation... "oh really? i want some too..." but don't move to get it or anything... eventually he catches on... but he's 4.5.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
I think if you "insist" on it, you're setting yourself up for a big power struggle. Kids learn courtesy and manners by your good example and gentle repetition, without you having to make a big issue out of it.

But in any case, 17 months is way too young for this kind of expectation. He's still just a baby, and fussing when he wants something is still a very developmentally appropriate way of communicating. A lot of kids this age don't even talk at all. If it were me, I would be very thankful that my child was able to communicate his wants and needs in an understandable way at all, and give the pleases and thank yous some time. If you feel strongly about please, say it for him-- "oh, you want to nurse? We say 'please nurse.' Okay, baby, come here and let's nurse." Over time, and with your gentle repetition of this sort of thing, he'll get the idea. And when he does say please, say something like, "I like when you say please to me."
Very well said.

I agree with pp - not developmentally appropriate to expect pleases at this point in the game.

I also agree with the pp who said it's great he can communicate his needs so early verbally. Ds has no useful words (at 19 months) & I'm excited for when he can tell me his wants more accurately.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMom2A&X View Post
I never even thought to have mine say please
Me neither. My 18 mo has some words but is just starting with simple phrases. We model polite speech but I don't have any sense that he would understand if I asked him specifically to say please as a condition for getting what he wants. Though manners and kindness are very important to me in the grand scheme of things, I don't feel that this is an age-appropriate expectation, at least not in our house at our stage.
post #15 of 30
My 19 month old has been saying please for a few months now. I never insisted she say it, I just made a habit of everytime I asked her to do something or for something, I said please to her. Eventually, when she wanted something she started saying please. Now EVERYTIME she asks for something there is always a please in there. About a month ago she also started saying 'thank you' when you did something for her or gave her something. Same thing with that. When she handed me something or did something I asked of her, I said thank you to her. Now she says thank you everytime she gets something she has asked for, or if you take something she doesn't want anymore etc. She even says thank you after DH buckles her in her car seat LOL.
post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
Well it seems like you all agree. I just figured since he can now say many words when I ask him to..like learning new word, I'll tell him to say "example" and he'll say it, so I figured asking him to say please wasn't a huge stretch. I just don't want it to get to the point where he doesn't ever say please as he gets older and feels like he can just whine to get what he wants. You don't think it will be too late to teach him that as he gets older? I'm all about gentle discipline and I don't want to be a tyrant, but I want to do the right thing. He's my first, so I'm not sure where to be a stickler and where to let things go. Ya know?
post #17 of 30
I try not to ever force please or sorry. I think those words end up meaning nothing and become just habit...I dont want that.

Once they are older I do require them to ask nicely (as long as they can handle it...not in the middle of a meltdown)...i will prompt for p;ease sometimes but they dont have to say it to have their request filled. I guess I just hate the whole idea of "magic word"...say please and get what you want. So often then please is still said in a demanding or whining tone...
post #18 of 30
I agree that the best way to get kids to use please and thank you are to use please and thank you with them, and in front of them (to friends, other family members, cashiers, teachers, etc.) To model it.

Please come here so I can change your diaper. Please give me that (insert nasty/germy/sharp) thing you found on the ground, it's not safe for you to touch that. Please come put your coat on.

It can take a long time before patterns like this are laid down in the long term memory.

In my experience the more you say it, the more they will, but it takes years. Repetition, repetition, repetition, like so many other things in parenting. (And yes, it can be maddening in the meantime, can't it.!)
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsBone View Post
Well it seems like you all agree. I just figured since he can now say many words when I ask him to..like learning new word, I'll tell him to say "example" and he'll say it, so I figured asking him to say please wasn't a huge stretch. I just don't want it to get to the point where he doesn't ever say please as he gets older and feels like he can just whine to get what he wants. You don't think it will be too late to teach him that as he gets older? I'm all about gentle discipline and I don't want to be a tyrant, but I want to do the right thing. He's my first, so I'm not sure where to be a stickler and where to let things go. Ya know?
At nineteen months old, my kid would say "bourgeoisie" when prompted. The fact that he could make the sounds didn't mean he could understand the concept.

We started gently insisting on please and thank you at around two and a half. Before that, we modeled them in use and we praised him when he used them. We still do not require him to say please when he's tired or stressed or frazzled. If the need is basic enough or if he's asking for something we've been trying to teach him (like asking to use the potty, for example) we don't require it.
post #20 of 30
I don't think it's unreasonable to work on teaching your little ones to say please and thank you, even if it will be quite a while before they will actually start doing it. Heck, most 3 and 4 year olds I know still need reminding at least some of the time.

My son is almost 17 months and he will sometimes say please when he asks for more, but I always have to prompt him, "can you say, "more, please"? sometimes he will, and sometimes he'll just nod his head yes like, well, i can say it but i'm not going to. same with nursing, if he starts poking me and yelling "milk! milk" i just said, "milk, please" and then let him nurse. i think he'll eventually figure it out. i don't withhold something from him if he doesn't say it.

and when he does say please, i give him a huge smile and tel him how nice and polite he's being.

patience and consistently modeling and reminding them are key...i think it'll take a while for them to internalize it. it can be frustrating though when it seems like they repeat everything else you ask them to say, except for please and thank you.
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