Teach Your Kids to be Respectful in 5 Steps
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
+ a free printable (just scroll down)
Have you ever wondered how to teach your kids to be more respectful? I have. I want my kids to feel supported and to encourage them to be themselves, but I also want to teach them boundaries and what it means to be respectful.
This post is all about teaching your kids what it means to be respectful! We will breakdown the 5 steps kids should follow in order to be respectful, and then we will learn some tips that adults can use along the way.
Prefer to watch instead of read? Click here.
Related Blog Post: 5 Children's Books about Being Respectful
The Big 5
If your kids follow The Big 5, they will be well on their way to being respectful.
1.) Being a good listener
This may seem kind of obvious, but let’s take a look at what it really means to be a good listener by checking out a couple of scenarios:
You come home after a long day at work. You start cooking. Then, you look around the house and notice your son has left his backpack in the middle of the hall, his coat is laying on the stairs, one of his shoes is on the rug and you just tripped over the other one, and he is playing a game on his (insert gaming device here). You think to yourself, “I have told him so many times to put his things away as soon as he gets home.” You try to be patient, so you ask him to put his things away. He mumbles something. You ask him again a little louder, he mumbles again. Your frustration builds, so you ask him again even louder. Then, your son gets frustrated with you and says that he heard you and that he will get to it when he finishes this level.
Does this sound at all familiar?
As you are cooking after a long day at work, you look around and notice your son’s stuff around the house (things he should have put away as soon as he got home after school). You call your son’s name. He takes his headphones off and looks at you. You remind him to put his things away. He says, “Okay, mom. Thanks for reminding me.”
Being respectful doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but it does mean that you should be a good listener. It is important that kids understand what it really means to listen. In scenario 1 the son claims that he was listening, but it is clear that he wasn’t. In order to be a good listener, you must do two things:
make eye contact to the person talking to you
speak clearly (this means mumbling is a no-no)
Here is a video that you can watch with your kids that explains what it means to be respectful. It is a great way to start the conversation!
2.) Doing as you have been asked right away
Our scenarios from #1 work for this section as well. Ideally the kid would put his backpack, coat, and shoes away as soon as he got home. But, people aren’t perfect. There will be an, “I forgot,” or an, “Oops,” every now and then. When that happens, we definitely want to experience scenario 2, where the kid realizes his mistake and puts his things away as soon as he’s asked.
You will probably have to explain to your child why it is important to do things right away. It may be obvious to you, but your kid might think it is completely reasonable to do it later.
It can help kids to make the right decision if they understand why it is important. You can let your kids know that taking care of their belongings is their responsibility and that prioritizing is an important life skill. You can also let them know how their behavior impacts you. Perhaps you get frustrated having to ask them to do something multiple times? Maybe you feel like your relationship would be so much more fun and positive if you didn’t feel this frustration? It is okay to talk to your kids about these feelings. Just make sure that they are old enough to understand and consider your tone of voice during this conversation. Kids are more likely to listen if you are loving and calm as opposed to frustrated and about to blow a gasket.
Here is a video that you can watch with you kids that explains prioritizing:
3.) Following the rules (and your expectations)
Following the rules and parent expectations is so important. The first step is making sure kids know the rules and expectations. So, be clear!
Some examples of expectations might include:
Put your stuff away as soon as you get home.
Brush your teeth in the morning and before bed.
Make sure your toys/games are put away before dinner.
Charge your devices before bed. (For kids that use electronics, this can cut down complaining about devices being out of battery. It can also help teach kids to be responsible for taking care of their own stuff.)
Tip: Be sure to have a designated spot for your kids things!
4.) Considering other peoples’ feelings
Do you remember the Golden Rule? Treat others as you would like to be treated. Do you really think others will want to be nice to you if you are not nice to them? I think this is true for adults and kids. Have you ever noticed that when someone is nice to you, it makes you feel good. Then, you start wondering what you could do for that person. Being nice is always a good idea! It makes you feel good and it makes others feel good. When everyone is feeling good, we are all more likely to want to help one another. So, maybe point out to your kids that they will not loose anything by being nice, but they may gain something (whether it be a friend or someone who is willing to help when they need it)!
5.) Using kind language
Please and thank you go a long way! It makes people feel good when you use nice words. I know that when my kids say please and thank you I feel a surge of happiness. Helping kids to understand that their words have power may help them to think about how they choose to speak to others.
Tips for Adults:
Tip #1: Recognize a job well done.
If your kids are doing a great job, let them know. They may be more likely to keep up the good work.
Tip #2: Correct bad behavior right away.
Kids are more likely to learn a better behavior if you address what they have done wrong in the moment. If you were to say, “Hey, do you remember when you didn’t really listen right away last Tuesday?” it might not be as powerful as if you were to say, “Please stop what you are doing, look, and listen…”
Tip #3: Be patient
It will take time to see a change in your kids’ behavior. If they don’t listen right away or they don’t say please after the 1st time you have asked, don’t get discouraged. Just keep at it and after a while you will realize, “Hey, my kids are being respectful on a regular basis. Yippee!”
Tip #4: Don’t argue with your kids
Have you ever fallen into this trap? It starts out with you trying to explain why your kids should or should not do something and evolves into back and forth argument? Avoid this! You are the parent. It’s great to explain things to your kids so they can understand, but you should not have to justify your discussions to your kids. Help them to understand that you only have their best interest at heart, so it is important for them to trust your decisions.
Thank you so much for checking out this post! Remember to stay positive on this journey we call life!
CHECK OUT THIS FREE PRINTABLE!
You may also want to check out this blog post:
Other Posts You May Like:
About the Author
I am Jessica from Learning with Jessica Diaz. I have been a teacher for eight years and am a mother of two. I am always reading; I love learning new things! The advice I give you is made up of a combination of real life experience and years of reading! Hope you enjoy.