Out of all the important values that should be taught to children, respect is at the top. It is one of the things which remains with a human being despite their age. And, the only way to teach respect to children is by starting at a young age and leading by example.
If you are disrespectful to those around you, then you are setting a bad example. As experts say, children are creatures of habit, and if you are disrespectful to others, they will also learn to be disrespectful. On the other hand, when a child is taught respect by example, they grow into good and respectful adults.
A child who is taught respect will go on to respect their parents, peers, and even themselves… Yes, self-respect is also an important trait that can help a child at all stages of life.
But leading by example is the only way to teach kids to respect themselves and others? Well, it is an important one, but there are also several other ways to teach respect to kids.
So without wasting time, let’s look at some proven ways through which you can teach kids to respect their parents, peers, and themselves.
What is Respect & How to explain it to Kids?
Respect is how a person treats or thinks about others or even themselves. For example, a person who respects their parents will admire them and treat them well.
When you treat others just the way you want yourself to be treated and accept their opinions/thoughts, you are showing respect. Another way to define respect is to behave in a polite and good manner.
This raises the question of how you can teach a complex concept, such as respect, to your child. You will have to use some easy words and explain with examples.
You can start the conversation by saying that respect is a feeling that you feel towards others. Then you can proceed by showing an example that when one has respect for someone, they must be kind and polite towards them. Also, remember to tell your child that they should treat others just like they want to be treated themselves!
If you show respect to those around you, then you can also give examples of your own self. This will make it easy for the children to understand respect as they can simply look at your behavior and action towards others!
5 Ways to Teach Kids to Respect Others & Themselves
Not sure how you can teach kids to respect their parents, teachers, peers, or even themselves? Have a look at some of the ways to achieve that:
1. Stay Calm
The first tip is to stay calm and not snap if your child disobeys or acts out… As human beings, it can be difficult to control your emotions, especially if your own child is showing disrespect towards you.
But when you match disrespect with disrespect, you are teaching your child that they should do the same. It is just like trying to fight fire with fire, and we all know it never works.
So the first thing to remember is to stay calm and carefully explain your child’s behavior. Was their behavior unintentional or deliberate? There’s a good chance that they didn’t hear your requests or their mind was occupied with something else. There are a lot of reasons which could be at play behind your child’s disrespect.
So stay calm and try to work through the situation in a respectful and rational way. As mentioned earlier, setting the right example is very important when it comes to teaching your child to respect others.
2. Teach Respectful Behavior & Words
Your child will not just magically learn how to express respect toward others. They actually learn it from school, home, and their environment.
So to make a solid foundation from the start, you need to show your child how to convey respect through their words and actions. And since we are talking about a child, you should keep it brief and short. Trying to give a long list of things of what to do and what not to do will only make it worse.
For example, you can start by teaching them how to show respect to you (parents). This includes showing affection, waiting for parents to finish talking, listening with full attention, following your requests, and so on.
Similarly, you can teach them how to respect their teachers, peers, and other people.
3. Discipline Any Disrespectful Behavior
If your child shows disrespectful behavior, then you can also discipline them. Start by explaining why their behavior is wrong. Try to explain how you felt about their disrespectful behavior and how they would feel if they were in your shoes. Once again, you will need to be calm and rational when disciplining your kids.
However, you need to be careful when disciplining your kids, as you wouldn’t want to turn it into something negative. The sole reason for discipline is to teach them why their actions were wrong, along with a message on how they can correct them.
The best way to do it is to use positive discipline techniques to correct their disrespectful behavior.
4. Teach Your Child to Also Expect Respect
While you teach your kid how to respect others, it is equally important to teach them that they should also expect respect from others.
Respecting others is just as important as getting respect from others and thus shouldn’t be ignored. This will help them to develop a sense of self-respect and to develop healthy boundaries.
Let’s look at a scenario where you can teach your kid to also respect themselves:
Let’s assume that your kid was playing with a toy and their friend also wanted to play with it. To show respect for their friend’s wish, your kid gave the toy to the friend.
Now explain to them that what they did was very kind and noble. But how did it make them feel? Happy or sad?
Explain how it is equally important to also think about their own feelings as well. If giving the toy to their friend made your kid sad, then teach them how to handle it differently next time.
Tell them that it is okay to say this to the friend: “I know you want to play with the toy. But for now, I am playing with the toy since it is my turn. So I will give it to you after!”
Through this technique, you can teach them how to respect others’ feelings as well as their own!
This was just an example, and you can use this approach for different scenarios…
5. Ask Questions
Children tend to be keen observers of their environment and other people around them. So if you and your kid notice someone being disrespectful, ask your kid whether that action was respectful or disrespectful.
Then ask how the other person would have felt from that disrespectful action or words. Follow this by teaching them why they should avoid such behavior and how to handle it with more respect.
Sparkles Early Learning Academy Approach
Sparkles Early Learning Academy takes pride in our extraordinary curriculum through play-based learning that prepares all of our students for Kindergarten and life. One of the key approaches we do is focusing on the main values that our school offers, such as respect. And, not only teaching your child to respect his or her parents, but also their peers, and themselves.