How to Teach Kids to be Respectful towards Others

A mother and son in a park

Parents need to remember that children are very observant; that’s how they learn, and being a good example of what you want your child to learn is one of the most important things that you can do for your child. If your child sees you give up your seat for an elderly person, they are likely to ask you why you did it, giving you an opportunity to explain to your child about respecting elderly. There are so many opportunities that you can grab on a daily basis and turn into your own respect lessons for kids.

How do Young Children Behave during their Growing Age?

Two sisters sitting in  a park on a summer day.Below are some of the behavioural traits of children as they grow-up:

  • New Born Behaviour: Newborns are helpless and cannot do anything for themselves. You must satisfy their need to feel loved.
  • Infant Behaviour: Infants learn to recognize people and love to be doted on by family. As they near the one-year mark, they begin to crawl and explore the world around them. Under careful supervision, infants should be allowed and encouraged to learn how to interact with the world.
  • Toddler Behaviour: Toddlers long to please their parents and often try to do so by imitation. During this time, they act rather impulsively and find it hard to control themselves. They are also quite self-centred and may not like to share.
  • Preschool Behaviour: Children of this age tend to be less self-centred and more helpful. They also become more outgoing and friendly. At this age, they start to realize when they make mistakes. Teaching respect to preschoolers is easy as they want to please their parents and imitate them.
  • School Going Child Behaviour:Children become close to their peers and start to become more influenced by them. They may start to take less interest in family activities. Children of this age want to be more independent and socialize more with others of their age.
  • Adolescence: Teenagers are going through many changes in their physical and sexual growth. They are at an age where they are transitioning from childhood and into adulthood. They try to act like adults, often resulting in them behaving in a rebellious manner. It is during this time when they are perceived as kids with no respect.

At What Age Should you Teach Kids about Respect?

Teaching your kid’s respect can never be done too early. By behaving the way you want your kids to behave, you set a good precedent for them to follow. It is especially damaging to a child if they are not treated in a respectful manner by adults as they learn to treat others the way they themselves are treated.

Pre-schoolers are at the age where they are beginning to have more consciousness of their mistakes. This is the ideal time to really start teaching them good manners and how to behave in a respectful way towards others. This is especially important since they are now starting to have more interaction with others outside the home.

How to Teach a Child to be Respectful and Good Manners?

How to explain respect to a child? This is a question on every parent’s mind. Below are some tips to teach kids to respect others:

1. Be Sensitive

Being sensitive to the needs of your child often results in them learning to be sensitive towards the needs of others as they grow.

2. Speak Well

Always use a respectful tone when speaking to children. If you speak rudely to them, they will learn to speak rudely to others!

3. Positive Reinforcement

It is important to not only correct your child but to also reward them for the right behaviour. For example, if their grandmother was to bake them cookies and they thanked her, you could respond with, “It was nice of you to thank grandma. I’m sure she worked really hard and felt appreciated.” As they have managed to earn your praise, they are more likely to do it again.

4. Be Patient

Most children are self-centred and do not want to listen when they are being corrected. Instead of losing your temper, be patient with them as this teaches them to be patient with others in difficult situations in the future.

5. Be A Good Counsellor

Sometimes young children have problems in social situations, and it is up to you to hear them out and help them through any difficulties that they may be experiencing.

6. Correct Your Child On The Spot

A lot of the time, a young child may not even realize that what they are doing is not acceptable. For example, your child may interrupt you while you are having a conversation. The best approach is to excuse yourself, take your child aside and politely let them know right then that what they are doing is wrong and why.

7. Set Realistic Behavioural Expectations:

Explain to your child the way you expect them to behave in different situations. If you are at a restaurant, explain to your child that they need to sit decently at the table and mind their table manners as it is not appropriate to run around while people are dining.

8. Teach Table Manners

People love to celebrate by having feasts and can be sensitive towards proper dining etiquette. Teaching kids respect with activities makes things more interesting for your kids. Try pretending the queen is coming for dinner as you teach them table manners.

9. Story Telling

You can use stories for children to teach them respect. Ask them to figure out which of the characters in the stories that are respectful and the ones that are not.

Ways to Handle Disrespectful Behaviour in Young Kids

Here are some effective ways of handling your child if they are disrespectful:

1. Provide Consequences

If your child is indulging in bad behaviours, like interrupting your conversation, firmly warn your child of the consequences if they do not stop. E.g., “If you do not stop interrupting when I am having a conversation, then you will have to go to your room.”

2. Follow Through

Follow through on any consequences your child was warned of if he persists in that behaviour.

3. Restitution

Children need to be taught that they need to take responsibility for their behaviour. If your child purposely throws things around while angry, make the child clean up the mess he made as a consequence of his bad behaviour.

Despite the bustle of this fast-paced life, make time to spend with your children and really listen to them when you do. Get together regularly for a family night and just have fun. When you give your child your time and take them seriously, they do not develop feelings of loneliness and resentment, which often causes them to act out in defiance.

Parents must also remember to treat each other with respect as this is vital in teaching children to respect their parents. If children feel connected to their parents and their parents to each other, feelings of mutual trust and respect are promoted.