Tired of telling your kids over and over that it’s not okay to throw their books all over the floor? They may need more lessons in respect. Kids are not robots and shouldn’t be treated as such. But they do need to learn important life skills, such as respect. In raising four kids and also in my former job as a nanny, one thing that has been consistent with all kids is that respect cannot just be told and expected. It is a process learned through actions taken by them, as well as everyone around them.
Give the Kids Respect
One of the easiest ways to teach respect is to give it. Kids are great copycats. But more than that, when you value them, as well as other people, they are likely to respect you for that. If you expect things to always go your way without listening to other possibilities, you aren’t likely to get respect from the kids (or anyone else, for that matter). If you never listen to the kids, expect to lose their respect, instead of gaining it.
Discuss Valued People and Objects
Teach kids to respect people and objects by discussing their special qualities. Have them imagine what it would be like without those people and items and how they should treat them in order to keep them around longer.
Have the kids write down or draw what’s discussed. This helps them remember it and also gives them something to reference later. If they are too small to do this, try drawing special pictures of people and things for them. Next to them, draw pictures of respectful actions. For instance, you might draw a library book with a shelf or a library card with a wallet. Place the charts you and the kids make in a visible location.
You can’t simply tell the kids to have respect. It has to be an action they are familiar with. If no one around them shows it, they have nothing to learn from. Point out real-life examples for them. You can say things like Aunt Lottie is so respectful of Uncle Jim. She doesn’t like that color, but she knows it’s his favorite, so she wore it for him today. Judy always puts her books back on the shelf when she’s dine reading them, so they stay nice. A hands-on approach gives them examples to show the benefits of respecting others.
Harbor Compassion for Others
Teaching kids how and why to care about the feelings of others is also an important part of respect. When they can feel and understand people on a deeper level, respecting them will come much easier. This should be taught early on. Kids need to know the effects their actions have on people, as well as items. When things they do make someone happy, sad, or angry, be sure they know. Prompt them to think of things they may have done differently to get the opposite result and which options are better and why.
If you lend an ear when kids have things they discuss, they will be more likely to respect and good manners on your thoughts on things too. But if you shun them when they want to speak, they will also do the same. Let them know you understand and care about their thought processes and their opinions. When people understand them, they are more likely to understand other people. They don’t have to get their way every time. But they should sometimes and they should also know that you care, whether the end result is what they want or not.
Awesome Children’s Books About Respect
Respect is an essential value that helps build strong relationships and fosters a culture of civility in society. It is crucial to teach young children about respect from a young age to encourage them to grow up as responsible, thoughtful, and compassionate individuals. And what better way to teach them than through children’s books? In this article, we will explore some of the best children’s books about respect that impart valuable lessons in a fun and engaging way. (affiliate links)
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
The Recess Queen is a perfect story for young kids to learn about respect, manners, and conflict resolution. It tells the story of Mean Jean, who rules the playground without any regard for personal space or the feelings of others. However, the arrival of a new kid, Katie Sue, brings a new perspective to the playground. She teaches Mean Jean the importance of being kind to others and how to make new friends. Beautifully illustrated, this adorable book captures the importance of mutual respect in everyday situations.
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates
The Big Umbrella focuses on the concept of respect through accepting others, regardless of their differences. The book’s main character is a big umbrella that welcomes everyone who needs shelter, ranging from tiny elephants to talking trees. The vivid illustrations and cute story encourage young readers to embrace diversity and express gratitude for the good things in life. It leaves the reader with the lesson that there is always room to include others.
Only Room for Two by Nicole Duggan
Only Room for Two follows two children on their journey to the moon. As they make their way, other children ask to join. The challenge is how to include others when you already have a plan and only so much room. This is an adventurous story of friendship with an emphasis on the value of teamwork and including others.
A Rainbow of Friends by P.K. Hallinan
A Rainbow of Friends helps young readers explore different types of respect. It teaches them the importance of treating others with kindness, regardless of their appearance, culture, or beliefs. The book includes a comprehensive list of children from various backgrounds and cultures, which serves as an excellent starting point for discussions on diversity, inclusivity, and mutual respect.
Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Do Unto Otters is a fun way for young kids to understand the golden rule of treating others as they would like to be treated. The book introduces young readers to Mr. Rabbit, who learns how to become a good neighbor when he gets new otter neighbors. With catchy rhymes, colorful illustrations, and hilarious scenarios, this book helps children respect others and understand the consequences of thoughtless behavior.
What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick
What if Everybody Did That? has a fun and lighthearted approach to teach young readers about the power of positive choices and behavior. The book asks a series of questions such as “What if everybody broke the rules?” or “What if everybody littered?” to teach children the importance of being respectful of others and taking responsibility for their actions.
I am a Booger, Treat Me with Respect by Julia Cook
I am a Booger, Treat Me with Respect uses humor to teach young children the concept of respecting others. It follows the story of a booger named Boogie, who faces disrespect from his peers, but learns to demand respect from others. The book uses a relatable main character and a catchy title to make learning about respect fun and memorable.
The Way I Act by Steve Metzger
The Way I Act is an excellent book that explores different character traits that make up respectful behavior. It encourages children to reflect on their behavior and how it makes others feel. The book has vibrant illustrations and uses rhyme as a tool to engage young readers in the learning process.
Teaching respect to young children is an important issue that must be addressed at an early age. Using children’s favorite books about respect, parents and teachers can tap into these young minds and instill positive behaviors that will help create a better world in the best ways possible. These books can serve as a great tool for teaching children respect, social skills, and conflict resolution while having fun.