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how can I make my 4 yr. old say thanks?

last night my 4 yr. old daughter asked Gram for watermelon,seeds out,rind off.I said say thanks Gram and she wouldn't so I took the melon and said you have to go up to your room til you can say thanks.For the next hour she kept coming down,crying hysterically that she didn't want to be up there and I said then say thanks and she wouldn't.She even said never mind I don't want the melon and I said but you got it fixed the way you want so you have to say thanks.My husband thought I should just take the melon away,too scary and dark upstairs,I turned on her light!She finally just fell asleep.Same thing a few weeks ago with her aunt,bought her a pop and she wouldn't say thanks,now asks my sister every time she's over if she still has it,yep, in my purse I say just say thanks and you can have it,nope!Help!!!!!

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Asked by lakegrglovr at 2:15 PM on Jul. 9, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (15)
  • It's thank you not thanks!! My son is 2 and he says tank to(thank you) maybe try asking her for something like go up to her room and ask "can I barrow this________" and when she gives it to you say "thank you sweety(or whatever you like to call her)" then give it back and say "now what do you say to mommy" and just keep going at it until she learns to say thank you. Honestly just my opinion but I hate hearing kids say "thanks" I think majority of people I've come across thinks it's rude to not say "thank you". But again that is just my OPINION! Anyways just keep at it, keep teaching her how to say thank you. Like I said ask her for something and have your DH get involved in showing her how to say thank you! She'll learn, even ask your family to get involved, try to say it for everything little thing she does good, so she'll hear it ALL the time. She'll get it, dont' worry.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:21 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • LOL.Just think of it this way...her stubborness will pay off when she's an adult,she will be great at standing her ground. I used to be a preschool teacher and heres what I did in my class as well as with my son when he was preschool age.I always sang the "please and thankyou song", I always made a big thankyou show for a kid when they would do something for me,I would say, Oh thankyou so very much! I really appreciate your help" or some version as that. I would always compliment good manners,any time my son would say thankyou(and he started out as ganku at the age of 2,lol) I would tell him "oh you are so welcome! You have such wonderful manners!" . Over time I think they just get it and mimic the "manner behavior". Don't worry, she'll get there.Maybe next time she asks for something from someone, try to make a big show of saying thankyou yourself and over time she should do the same.Good Luck! :)

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 2:26 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I think you did the right thing. I do that with my two year old. If he doesn't say please and thank you, he doesn't get it.

    Next time she asks for the pop, tell her she HAS THE POWER to get it...all she has to do is say Please and Thank You. If she decides not to, tell her she has decided she doesn't want the pop.

    Gratefulness is a lost virtue these days. Seems kids have a mentality of entitlement. This isn't going to be helpful to them when they are adults.

    Answer by timelessglass at 2:29 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Another it possible that when you say "what do you say?" or "say thankyou" she feels put on the spot and it makes her embarressed and kinda shy feeling? I would try a different approach. Again, good luck! :)

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 2:35 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I taught my kids to say Please and Thank You by saying those things myself. They soon learned to imitate me. I made a big fuss over how polite they were when they used the 'magic words' and they enjoyed the positive reinforcement.

    Answer by lucindamartinez at 2:54 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • this last answer could be right on the money,she is painfully shy and does not like to be put on the spot,I just didn't think of it that way so Thanks!! And my fault I should have prefaced this question by saying my husband and I are always polite and say please and thank you and she usually does to but every once in a while this becomes a big issue for her so I think the being put on the spot thing may be right! p.s. I didn't ask for any advice regarding proper grammar,I don't think there's anything wrong with saying thanks in a casual setting such as ones own house!

    Answer by lakegrglovr at 2:55 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Another option - have you taught her the sign language for Thank you? If she's shy, give her the hand signal for it as well, if you find that an acceptable alternative. I also use the sign as a visual reminder to my son to say thank you so that he doesn't need to hear me say it, but he can see the reminder and it triggers his response (most of the time). I do also role model this behavior and expect it from him, but I also don't make it a battle because he is ONLY 4 - I don't expect perfection, especially in manners - he's still learning social rules. To me, manners should come from feelings of gratitude and courtesy internally, not imposed from the parents externally. So while I don't enforce them, I do encourage them in positive ways so that he won't have negative emotional responses to using his manners.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 3:15 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • lol good luck. My parents adopted a 4 year old, he'll say gimme my food fat woman! You try and get him to say thank you, its like torture. At that age all you can really do is reward your child when they are polite, and hope they possitive attention encourages them to be polite more often.

    Answer by holly082290 at 3:50 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Continue to do what you're doing. But I seriously would start working on "thank you".

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:00 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I never made my sons say thank you or sorry. I would say it for them. As they got old enough they would want to say it for themselves, they didn't want their mommy to say it for them. I would praise them when they would use good manners.

    My oldest son started Boy Scouts right after we moved to a new town. I was a single mom and I have some mobility problems and the troop met downstairs in a church so I didn't meet the Leaders right away. My son wanted Scouts to be his own thing since we homeschooled.

    After a couple of months the Scoutmaster stops me in the parking lot and talks to me for awhile. I thought it was a little strange. I find out the Leaders were concerned my son might be abused because he had manners and they had never had a boy in the troop that would actually do what he was told without any problems. He got his Eagle Scout when he was 16.

    I never used time outs or grounded. He was spanked once.


    Answer by Gailll at 7:24 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

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