7 Tips for Teaching Children About Respect

child returning an elbow bump

In order to thrive in life, children need to know about respect. Children who understand how and why to respect others will carry those lessons on throughout their lives. Phrases like “because I said so” teach children the wrong lesson by making obedience feel like a punishment. Before your child goes out into the world on their own, try following these tips to teach them about the benefits of respecting others. 

Demonstrate Respect

Children learn best when they follow a trusted adult’s lead. Be kind to others, especially when you’re around your child. If you slip up in front of your child, talk to them about why that was a mistake and how you could have handled it better. Do the same if they get flustered and act a little rude. Always be forgiving, thinking of mistakes as learning opportunities.

Tell Them Why

Make it clear what you expect of your child, and help them understand why being respectful matters. Demonstrate how respect can improve both sides of any relationship they have. People like to be respected, and it feels good to make others happy. On the flip side, tell them how rudeness or lack of respect can reflect poorly on them and have negative consequences.

Teach Polite Language

The earlier your child learns words like “please” and “thank you,” the more likely they are to incorporate the words into their daily vocabulary. Use polite words often when talking to your child and talking to others around your child. Encourage your child to do the same. Say “please” and “thank you” in every appropriate situation so your child understands the positive effect these words have.

happy family at breakfast table

Practice as a Family

Get everyone in the immediate family involved in teaching your child or children manners, and the lessons will be more likely to stick. The dining table is a great place to start, since many things, like not talking over each other and arriving on time, can be demonstrated over family dinner. Everyone in the family can work together to teach each other respectful habits, keeping in mind that signs of respect vary across cultures.

Don’t Force It

Friendly reminders to say “please” and “thank you” and listen attentively are fine. However, it’s not fine to chew your child out every time they forget. The more aggressively you present the idea of respect, the more likely your child will be to resist. You can’t force your child to learn how to respect others overnight, so use these opportunities to set a positive example.

Let Books be a Guide

Find books that are appropriate for your child’s reading level with themes of respect and kindness. Children’s books often have a “moral of the story,” and some books take on these subjects directly. Talk to your child about the characters in the story and how being kind helped them. The more examples your child has, the easier it will be for them to relate to these concepts. 

statue of Jesus with blue sky in background

Use Jesus as an Example

Jesus demonstrated kindness and respect to those who were often looked down upon. He didn’t hesitate to dine with people who weren’t conventionally “good.” He broke down boundaries by preaching to people of different races and healing lepers, which was unheard of in His time. As He hung on the cross, He begged that those who hurt Him be forgiven. Even today, Jesus can be a model of respect and tolerance. 

Respecting others is the first step to becoming a successful, well-liked person, which is one of many reasons why we encourage it in our students. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.