• Jessica Diaz


teaching your kids to be respectful

#respect #charactereducation

I don’t know about you, but when I try to think of someone who is respectful, the first person who comes to mind is Superman. He is noble, good and helpful. How could he not be a great role model for being respectful?

respectful hero

In today’s post we’re going to answer these 3 BIG questions:

  • What does it mean to be respectful?

  • Why should I teach my kids to be respectful?

  • How do I teach my kids to be respectful?

Plus, we will go over the 6 things you should do when teaching kids to be respectful.


What does it mean to be respectful?

Being respectful means that you consider other people’s feelings through your actions. You treat other people well, which might look like…not interrupting your teacher, listening to your parents, or not trying to convince everyone that you right all the time about everything.


Why should I teach my kids to be respectful?

When your kids are respectful, they are much more likely to have positive interactions with others. Respect can help your kids develop healthy relationships, because it builds feelings of trust.

Let’s think about superman for just a minute. If he was always telling people that he was right and that they were dumb, small, or insignificant…we probably wouldn’t trust or like him very much. But, because he is respectful of people and wants to help, we like and trust him (as much as you can trust a fictional character that is…;).

Now on to the tough part - How.


How do I teach my kids to be respectful?

1.) Teach your kids to accept NO as an answer

Kids might not understand why they can’t have their way all the time. But, people don’t like to be controlled. People value being able to make their own decisions, which is why it is so important to teach your kids to accept NO as an answer. You can let them know that it’s okay to be disappointed when they don’t get their way, but they must learn to accept other people decisions. This will help them to have more positive relationships.

There is a great children’s book about this topic called I Just Don’t Like the Sound of NO! (How about Maybe?) by Julia Cook, if you want to check it out.

children's book about respect

2.) Help them learn to empathize with other peoples’ feelings

The best way I have found to do this is to simply ask, “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” By asking this question, it gives your kid the opportunity to put himself in someone else’s shoes. It makes him think about the other person’s feelings. If he is considerate of other people’s feelings, it can help him to think through his actions and avoid problems.

3.) Teach your kids to follow the rules

Rules are important. They exist for everyone in order to make for a better community. Kids sometimes think that the rules shouldn’t apply to them. But, rules are there for a reason. They let us know our limits. If following the rules is an issue for you kiddo, consider giving consequences for breaking the rules. Then, follow through!

If you want a book that helps kids understand why it’s important to follow the rules, check out What if everybody did that? by Ellen Javernick.

children's book about respect

4.) Correct bad behavior

At times, we may ignore a bad behavior and hope it goes away on its own. Then, when it doesn’t, we feel frustrated. Kids don’t know to fix what they don’t know is broken. We don’t all come with a blueprint for how to be a good person. It’s something we must learn from those with more experience. So, be sure to correct a bad behavior when it comes up.

5.) Keep your cool and be emotionally available for your kids

Anger and frustration are not helpful to bringing about a lasting change in your kiddos’ behavior. So, remain calm as much as you can and empathize with your kids’ frustrations. When you let your kids know that you understand what they’re feeling, it keeps their frustration about the situation instead of it turning on you.

6.) Establish consequences for patterns of bad behavior

If your kid makes a mistake every now and then, talking to her may be all that you need to do. But, if you notice a pattern of bad behavior developing, it may be time to implement consequences. Consequences help motivate kids to make good choices by making bad choices uncomfortable.

To learn more about consequences, you can read the post Consequences for Kids.


Want help explaining what it means to be respectful? Check out my youtube video:


Would you like more resources to teach your kids or students about being respectful? You can check out my Being Respectful packet available through TeachersPayTeachers:

respect curriculum for kids


Other posts you might like:

Teaching Kids to be Honest

5 Ways to Teach Kids Self-Control

Teaching Your Kids to be Helpful

Responsibility for Kids


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Jessica from Learning with Jessica Diaz. I'm a teacher and a mother of two. All of the info I have shared with you is a result of what I have learned teaching my own kids and my students, as well as a love of reading and learning! I really hope that this information helps you, and I wish you all the best!

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