When can I start teaching my child manners?
She might not be ready to use manners flawlessly — that's asking a lot of a toddler. But starting small can yield big results later on.
First, stick with the basics. Saying "please" and "thank you" are fairly new skills for toddlers, and they take time to learn. Start with this as a first step toward politeness, and move on from there.
Second, practice what you preach. As you probably know by now, kids are always watching, listening, and learning from us — especially when we least expect it. The best way to encourage a toddler to behave nicely is to model good manners yourself. Make sure you're saying "please" when asking something of your child and partner, and thank them when they do nice things for you.
Third, accentuate the positive. Rather than scolding your toddler when she forgets her manners, pour on the praise when she's behaving the way you want her to. Tell her that she seems so grown up when she says "please" and "thank you," and that people appreciate it. While it's disappointing when our kids are rude to others, blowing up about it could cause her to resist your efforts to teach considerate behavior. You want your toddler to exert her independence and "grown-up-ness" by showing off her good manners — not by refusing to use them.
Finally, be consistent. As soon as your toddler is usually saying "please" and "thank you" at home, nudge her to do so with others, too. Toddlers like consistency, and a rule that applies only to certain situations will be confusing and become difficult to enforce.