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How to Teach Children the Meaning of Respect

by A.J. Ryan, studioD

Teaching children the meaning of respect sounds like a challenging task. By starting out with a good working definition of the word "respect" and some fun activity ideas, it's easy as pie! The cornerstone of respect is The Golden Rule: "Treat others the way you'd like to be treated." Expand this with your child to include respect for the differences of others and respect for himself. You'll open up some meaningful conversations this way!

Teaching Children the Meaning of Respect

Exhibit good manners to show respect to others. Have your child think of three words or phrases they can use to show good manners. Write the phrases on index cards and post somewhere the child can see. Each evening before bed, review the cards you have posted and challenge your child to think of one new word or phrase each night. Write the new phrase on the card and post. Continue until your child can't think of any more good-manners words.

Help children understand differences in individuals. Gather together several magazines and look through the photos with your child. Ask him to describe the people he sees. Help him find the correct words to describe differences in age, gender, race, and individuals with disabilities. Cut out photos and glue onto a sheet of construction paper. Caption with the title "Respect: Treat Others as You'd Like to be Treated." Hang somewhere your child will see the poster daily and discuss it often.

Teach your child to show respect for herself. Glue a photo of your child to a sheet of construction paper. Help her brainstorm ways she can show respect for herself: exercise, keep her body clean and eat healthy foods. Write the ideas on scraps of paper and glue them around her photo. Title the page "I Love Me!" and post in her room. Add to the poster when new ideas strike!

Items you will need
  •  Index cards
  •  Markers
  •  Tape
  •  Old magazines
  •  Glue sticks
  •  Construction paper
  •  Photo of your child

About the Author

A.J. Ryan is an elementary school teacher and graduate-level college instructor. She holds a professional teaching certification in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Science in business administration.

Photo Credits

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