4 Ways to Model Respect

In preparation for this month’s Kindness and Empathy Curriculum™ focus, I asked my four-year-old about respect.  She pondered for several moments and then provided an exasperated reply, “I don’t know; what is it?” I found myself challenged to come up with the words to describe this character trait and fell back on examples of how we have seen respect displayed through the actions of others.

Respect is one character trait you may easily recognize when you see it and just as easily identify when it is absent.

Partnering with you to encourage this valuable character trait, our Stepping Stone School professionals work diligently to provide children with opportunities to discuss and participate in activities promoting respect for others.

The following describes some ways we can work together to teach and encourage respect:

  1. Demonstrate respectful behavior. Children often watch their caregivers looking for clues defining the expectations. If they see parents and teachers treating one another with respect, they will do the same.
  2. Teaching polite responses.Even infants can use manners by signing words like, “please” and “thank you.” At Stepping Stone School, we begin teaching these signs in our infant classrooms and continue to build upon these important phrases throughout their years with us. As children begin vocalizing, adding phrases to their vocabulary like, “excuse me,” “no thank you,” and “yes ma’am/sir” continues to encourage an attitude of respect.
  3. Expect a respectful attitude. As your child grows, talk to her about the way she treats others, the words she uses, and the attitudes she portrays. Explain the expectations of respect for others and discuss ways to hold her accountable for her attitude and behavior.
  4. Praise respectful behavior. When children demonstrate good manners and respect for others, let them know that you notice the positive choices they are making.

Time and consistency together with our intentional teaching efforts will teach children this valuable character trait.  Hopefully, next time I ask my child about respect, she will be able to provide me with a definition of her own.


Ask Dr. Sears. (2013, August 23). “7 Ways to Teach Your Child Manners.” Retrieved on February 18, 2016, from http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/discipline-behavior/morals-manners/7-ways-teach-your-child-manners

Kear, N. (2010). “The Return of Respect!” Retrieved on February 18, 2016 from www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/manners/the-return-of-respect/

Silverman, R. (2008, April 12).  “10 Tips on Teaching Respect to Children: You can’t get it if you don’t give it!” Retrieved on February 18, 2016 from http://drrobynsilverman.com/parenting-tips/10-tips-on-teaching-respect-to-children-you-cant-get-it-if-you-dont-give-it/

VanClay, M. (2007).  “The respectful child: How to teach respect.” Retrieved on February 18, 2016 from http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-respectful-child-how-to-teach-respect_64686.bc


For more information on our Kindness and Empathy Curriculum™ click here!


Age Groups:

Advanced Pre-K

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