At Basik Training, my number one goal is to equip you with the tools you need to help your child become kind, respectful, and successful members of society. One major problem in our society is the lack of respect so many individuals have for other people, and more importantly, for authority figures. How did we get here? Who really knows…? But I do know that there is something we can do as caregivers and parents to help our children become respectful, kind and happy individuals.
In this post, I would like to share five easy ways with you to show your little one how and why they should be respectful and kind to others.
1. To teach your children to respect others, you must respect them too.
First and foremost, the best way to teach your child to respect others is to show them that you respect others. How do you speak to – or about other people in front of your child? If your child hears you complaining about other people or talking badly about them, chances are they are going to pick up on that. Think about the things you’re saying under your breath about your husband – are your little ones around to hear that? What about service people? Servers at the restaurant you eat at, or the grocery clerk.
If you want your children to become respectful and kind adults, it is important to model this behavior to them. Teaching your child that you respect others will cause them to respect others as well. Pay attention to the way you are treating other people, especially when you are in front of your children.
2. Teach your child to respond when they are spoken to.
Parenthood is hard enough. You’re trying to manage all of your responsibilities, as well as take care of your little one. It can be super to helpful to teach your child to respond to you so that you know they heard what you said to them. This can be super helpful to you and for the other people that will be caring for them, such as teachers.
When you ask your child to do something, remind them to respond to you. You may want them to respond with “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am”. Or you may be fine with a simple, “okay”. No matter how tired they are or what temperamental mood they may have at the moment, responding to you is not that difficult. If you’re having trouble getting them to do this, take a moment to get on their level and ask them to look at you. Explain to them that they need to respond to you when you ask them to do something so that you know they heard you.
Also, think about when you are out in public. How many times does someone ask them a question and not get an answer? Depending on the development of your little one and their verbal abilities, this really can be seen as rude. It’s not nice to ignore people who are speaking to you. Teach your little one that it is rude to ignore others. A simple response is not a hard thing to do, and it will teach them how to react in social situations.
*As a side note, I’m not suggesting that you force your child to share a deep conversations with everyone. I do believe that your child should be allowed to trust their intuition and not be forced to be overly friendly with others they aren’t comfortable with. Finding the right balance in this situation is important. However, you can always teach them to respond with a short answer or even by saying they don’t want to talk about it.
3. Teach your child to say please and thank you.
Saying please and thank you are the most basic forms of showing that you have good manners. These words convey respect, as well as appreciation, to the person who is giving your child something. Teaching your toddler these words can begin before they ever actually start speaking. Studies have shown that infants as young as seven months old are practicing word formation in their mind before they ever start trying to out loud. So, don’t wait! Start with modeling this behavior to them early on. And when they do begin speaking, practice this with them.
4. Be consistent when you tell your child “No”.
I absolutely know – this can be one of the most difficult things to do. To see your child lose it over something so small, can be very hard! I know it may be just one cookie, and it would be really easy to make your child happy again by letting them have it. But if you give in and let them have the cookie after you already told them no, you teach your child that it is okay to act like a crazy banshee in order to get what they want. The word “no” loses its influence and becomes meaningless.
Unless you are somewhere with your toddler where they truly do need to be quiet, like a church service or funeral, let them pitch their fit and don’t get involved. By not reacting to the tantrum, your child will see that they don’t get what they want when they act that way. Once the fit has died down get on your toddler’s level, take their hands and look into their eyes. Explain to them that when they act that way you don’t hear them. Tell them that their behavior in not acceptable and that sometimes we don’t get everything we want. This is so important for your child to understand! I guarantee you they won’t get it the first time, or probably even the first ten times. But teach them that sometimes we don’t get what we want, and that is okay.
5. Start a gratefulness practice with your child.
Many children today have and endless supply of toys, get to participate in so many different activities, and have no idea how good they have it. This is not their fault. Kids don’t know that life can be any different. Unfortunately though, there are also many children that don’t get these same luxuries. There are children that don’t have any toys and that don’t get to participate in any activities because their parents can’t afford it.
Teaching your child to be grateful for what they do have is the first step to helping them see how fortunate they are. My suggestion for you is to start a gratefulness practice with them. Pick a specific time of the day that you aren’t rushed for time to discuss three things that you are grateful for. This can be a great family activity at dinner time, during bath time, or before bed. Start with sharing the three things that you are grateful for and go around allowing each child to share theirs. Not only will this be beneficial for your children, but it will also be beneficial to you. One of the biggest side effects of gratefulness is happiness.