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Parents usually used to order about the position of their child if he doesn't sit properly, in order to teach him politness and respect. In my native language we say something that may be translated to "Sit nicely, please". What's about the natural equivalent in English?

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    My father, who was a severe man with children, used to say "sit up straight!", as if I were a soldier in the army, and not a small child. – Michael Harvey Sep 19 at 23:33
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    If the child moves around too much, they might say "sit still". – Jack O'Flaherty Sep 20 at 0:06
  • Who thinks it's OK and nice to give "orders" to a toddler? – Michael Harvey Sep 20 at 8:44
  • @Michael Harvey, Maybe the word 'order' may sounds too strict I'd soft it and say 'to ask him'. But anyway, when you want to tell stories about your father or garandfather that really ordered us like in ary, who cares)) Each generation has its own standards. – Judicious Allure Sep 20 at 8:52
  • Excessive strictness was bad for me and I still do not like it when I hear about it. – Michael Harvey Sep 20 at 8:56
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The phrase sit nicely, please seems perfectly fine to me. However it is rather dependent on the child knowing what nicely means in this context so parents usually say something more specific like sit up straight which has already been suggested in comments. The phrase sit still is also used although it represents the triumph of hope over experience as toddlers never sit still whatever inducement they are offered for so doing.

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