Parents (and school teachers) often focus on developing a child’s academic and cognitive skills. Sometimes we overlook the importance of social and emotional development, which can be equally important. While cultivating a child’s reading and math skills is essential, instilling a strong sense of values and character traits that improve social and emotional wellness can be key in helping children succeed.
This is where character education comes in. Character education helps build a moral foundation for children, teaching them valuable social-emotional skills that they will carry with them throughout life. One important element of character education is teaching respect, which can be a complex concept for kids to grasp. To put it in simple terms for your child, you can teach your child that having respect for someone means you should act in a way that shows you care for that person’s feelings and well-being.
Here are some simple ways you can teach your child about respect:
After you explain the concept of respect to your child, it’s important to give them real-world examples. For instance, you can tell them that being quiet in a library is a sign of respect because it shows that you care about others who are trying to read without noise or interruption. By being quiet in the library, you are acting in a positive way towards others which shows that you care about their well-being. This is respect.
There are times when your child will be disrespectful, it’s a natural part of growing up. When these moments arise, it’s important that you have a plan for dealing with them. If you don’t respond properly and consistently to these initial moments of disrespect, the moments are likely to repeat themselves.
Stay calm and earn your child’s respect.
When moments of disrespectful behavior arise, it’s important to stay calm. Don’t overact to the behavior by lashing out and yelling, because you’ll be sending the wrong message and modeling more negative behavior. Instead, ask yourself if your child is even aware that this behavior is disrespectful.
Gauging how to respond to your child will help you with the next step, and give you time to breathe and calm down. Responding calmly during these moments is a good way for you to exercise control over the situation, and earn respect from your child.
Identify the cause of the disrespect.
Sometimes disrespectful behavior is the result of your child’s inability to articulate a specific need, which results in frustration. It’s important for you to ask your child questions to help them express their emotions with words, also helping them understand where their anger is coming from. These heated moments can be great opportunities to show your child how to deal with their emotions in a healthier way. Show your child that, even in difficult situations, you can keep calm and respond respectfully too.
Set a good example.
There’s no better way to teach your child a valuable character trait than by modeling it yourself. Being a respectful role model involves you showing respect to others you encounter throughout your day. You should also try to treat your child with the same respect that you would treat other adults. One way you can do this is by accepting their preferences and independence in little ways. For example, you can accept their decision to wear an outfit that they put together on their own, even if it’s a little wacky!
Raising a Respectful Child at Cranium Academy
At Cranium Academy, we take character education seriously. Our exclusive character education program is built around the idea that essential character traits can be developed during early childhood. We believe that respect is one of the core character traits that should be cultivated in each child. One of our goals at Cranium Academy is to find fun, real-world scenarios that help preschool or elementary school age children develop creative strategies surrounding the value of respect. Reinforcing respectful behaviors both at school and at home helps build your child’s character, which will serve them well throughout their life.