Figuring out how to explain respect to a child is no easy task. To truly teach children empathy and respect, you will have to start with yourself. Every time you talk to your child, they are learning about respect or disrespect in relationships. Your job as a parent is to be aware of your actions and be a role model of respectful behavior and good manners for your children when reacting to them.
The following are some ways to teach and encourage respect:
- Model Respect. By modeling respectful behavior for your child, you are not only teaching respect for others but also teaching your child to respect themselves.
- Discuss Respect. Talk about the way we treat others. Focus on the words we use and the attitudes we portray. Explain the expectation of respect for others demonstrated in both attitude and behavior.
- Teach Turn-Taking. Helping children to patiently wait for a turn to speak encourages respectful listening. Encouraging children to wait develops an attitude of patience and respect.
- Teach Polite Responses. As children begin vocalizing, adding phrases to their vocabulary like, “excuse me,” “no, thank you,” and “yes, ma’am/sir” continues to encourage an attitude of respect.
- Praise Respectful Behavior. When children demonstrate good manners and respect to others, give specific praise for the positive choices they are making.
Time and consistency together with our intentional teaching efforts will teach children this valuable character trait.
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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