how to prompt toddler to say goodbye? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 03-20-2012, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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My daughter is almost 3, and goes to a preschool/daycare. When I pick her up at the end of the day, it's only her, the guide (it's a montessori school) and the guide's daughter left. When we're getting to leave, I ask DD, would you like to say goodbye? Often DD will not say goodbye to her friend, only her teacher (they shake hands). The guide's daughter sometimes looks hurt, which I don't like to see.


I know I can't and shouldn't force or try to shame my daughter into saying goodbye... but I don't like seeing that it's hurt the other girls' feelings either. Her mom will help by explaining that my DD doesn't feel like saying that right now, but I'm not sure what to say to my daughter about it. Do I just prompt and then, if she won't do it, just ignore it? Is there a way to gently make her aware of the affect her actions have on her friend?

I get the sense that sometimes she doesn't like to say goodbye because it makes her sad to leave, which is understandable. 

The two girls are really close, and most of the time they get along fine, though I understand that they sometimes get on each other's nerves (natural for spending so much time together!). 


Thanks for any advice!

Mama to joy.gifDD1 (5/09) and happy crawler DD2 (11/12) and wife to DH guitar.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 03-20-2012, 06:16 PM
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With my kids I'd always just say "say bye Sam and Sally, see you tomorrow!". I don't think it's harmful for your daughter to learn that it's polite to say goodbye when you leave. Also, I never forced my boys to say it, sometimes they would just wave.


At 6yo now my DS says bye and thanks for having us or thanks for coming when saying goodbye to friends, without any prompting.



It's complicated.
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#3 of 6 Old 03-20-2012, 06:20 PM
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My older daughter was like this at one point. She didn't want to say goodbye to anyone because she thought if we didn't say goodbye, we wouldn't leave. I just explained it to people when it came up. I'd relax about it. It's about not understanding the power of language (or in this case lack of) and not at all about politeness. When she figures out that saying goodbye doesn't cause her to leave, she'll say goodbye.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-20-2012, 07:51 PM
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You might also give her the option of a non-verbal way of saying goodbye. Our son wouldn't say goodbye, but he was happy to wave. If you ask "Would you like to say goodbye or wave?" that both gives her a non-verbal way to respond, but doesn't leave you with the awkward refusal to say goodbye. When ds was about 4, we started talking about how if you don't say hello or goodbye to your friends, they might think you are mad at them. But a 2+, he wasn't ready for that.


Remember too that she's TWO. When we start saying "almost 3" we tend to expect kids to act older  than they are. The older they get, the more this becomes a problem. Our dd is "almost 8" but she still behaves like a 7 year old in many ways. Gee, I wonder why?

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#5 of 6 Old 03-20-2012, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the great advice! Yeah, I think I will just relax about it. I checked in with the teacher/guide today, and she said from her perspective, it's become a power struggle, so probably best to ignore and just model the appropriate behavior. You're all right - she'll come around when she's ready.

And yes, she is just two! ;) So easy to feel like this behavior will last forever, and then suddenly something changes.


Thanks again!

Mama to joy.gifDD1 (5/09) and happy crawler DD2 (11/12) and wife to DH guitar.gif

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#6 of 6 Old 03-21-2012, 06:31 AM
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My ds is 4.5yo and still sometimes feels shy about saying goodbye.  I suggest that he waves goodbye if he doesn't want to say it, but even if he doesn't wave it's not a big deal.  I just say goodbye for both of us. 


BTW when he was 2.5 he would almost never say hello or goodbye, but now he's mostly fine with it.  Just getting a bit older has made the biggest difference.  ;)

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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