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10 Tips To Teach Respect To Your Toddler

4 min read

Rudeness is very pervasive in today’s world. Take any famous person’s social media feed and you see abusive, mean and disrespectful comments. And this is not limited to celebrity world. It is much closer home than we would like to accept. Teenagers arguing openly and rudely with parents, children treating elder family members with disrespect, and kids generally treating others, especially the working class like security guards, in a demeaning way – none of these are rare sights these days.
teaching respect to children

10 Tips to Teach Respect to Your Toddler

That said, we have some control here. We can teach our kids how to respect others, how to show kindness and gratitude and how to be considerate of others’ feelings. The following are 10 tips you can follow to teach respect to your toddler. Why are we specifically talking about toddlers? Because it is best to start early. These critical values need to be inculcated as soon as your children begin to communicate and start to understand your words.

  1. Be a good role model: Demonstrating good behavior yourself is the first step in teaching your child respect. Set a good example of yourself by using kind and polite words and acting respectfully, especially in front of kids. If you shout at your child when you are angry, your child will emulate the same when he is upset. ‘Give respect, take respect’ should be the mantra! Always remember that children learn better by examples
  2. Teach them the magical three words: These are “please”, “sorry” and “thank you”. Your toddler is big enough to understand and say these words. If they start saying these words regularly from a young age, it would come naturally to them as they grow older. Like we mentioned in the previous point, one way to impart this is to use it abundantly yourself in front of your child. Further, gently nudge him to use the words when he is not. For instance, if he says “I want biscuit”, you can say “do you want to say please so that your question sounds better?”
  3. Explain ‘respect’ through stories: There are many children books available that attempt to build good character in kids. Pick up few – like Berenstain Brothers: Show Some Respect – and include that in your daily reading routine to your kids. Reading is a great way to imbibe good manners. Your child may pick up his favorite heroes and imbibe the good qualities
  4. Point out and discuss respectful and disrespectful behaviors in others: Outside the books, the world around us presents a number of learning opportunities. When you take your child outside, point out to them when other children (and even adults) are behaving respectfully and disrespectfully. Discuss the behavior, point out what is right and what is wrong and decide on the key takeaways from the event.
  5. Appreciate respectful behavior: We can’t emphasize positive reinforcement enough. When your child behaves well, you should appreciate it. We wouldn’t recommend overindulging them with rewards, which can lead to them behaving respectfully for the rewards. An acknowledgement that you noticed the good behavior, some extra privileges or even just a “good boy” would suffice. No good effort from your child should go unnoticed
  6. teaching respect
  7. Reinforce good behavior: It is difficult to teach kids soft skills. You have to keep reminding them again and again as they get easily influenced by things they see in TV and other children’s actions. Continuously remind them what respectful behavior is. You can make and put up some colorful posters in your house that act as gentle reminders for your kids. It could say things like “Remember to say THANK YOU”, “Say EXCUSE ME before interrupting” etc.
  8. Acknowledge disrespectful behavior: Just like you appreciate respectful behavior, you need to correct bad behavior. But the first step here is to acknowledge bad behavior. While you might tend to be defensive, you need to call out when your child errs. Do not let things slide
  9. Correct rudeness wisely (avoid overreacting): If your child calls you or someone elder ‘stupid’ or another foul word, your initial reaction would be to scold him and force him to apologize. This does not teach the child why what he did was wrong. Ideal way to deal with disrespectful behavior is to call the child aside, talk calmly about his actions and words, and tell him why it was wrong in simple sentences
  10. Make sure your spouse is consistent with your approach: It is important that both you and your partner are in line with the approach you take to teach the child respect. One of you cannot allow a behavior that other has tried to stop or vice versa. Both need to agree on and take equal efforts to teach the child values
  11. Expect disagreements: We agree, this is not an easy task. Your child might continue behaving disrespectfully despite your best efforts. Some situations could prevail in school or family which may make it tough to teach respect to children. Be patient and consistent with your efforts. Try to understand what triggers your child’s rudeness. Slowly try to bring a positive spin to her mean comments

It is always good to sit down and reflect on past week(s) with your child when you are trying to discipline him. Remind him of instances that went well, point out where he erred, and decide on action items for next week(s).
Happy parenting!

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