Respect is one of the most important lessons to teach our children. It is the one lesson that will last with them for the rest of their lives. Practicing these respect activities for kindergarteners is a great way to start instilling them with respect for you, their teachers, and even their peers.
Although kindergarten might be considered early to really teach respect to a child, it’s a good age to teach your child the basic principles of respect. These activities, however weird they may sound, will help your child treat those around them with respect.
Why Teach Kindergarteners Respect?
Kindergarten is the age where children can start being held responsible for their actions. This is also the age at which we can start working on poor behavior. Before that age, it is difficult to condition our children to act in a certain way.
This is a good time to start teaching qualities like respect and honesty. Many parents make the mistake of disregarding respect. In reality, respect is one of the most important activities to teach a child.
Just by interacting with an adult, you can tell whether their parents prioritized respect or not.
How to Teach Respect to a Kindergartener?
Children are like sponges. They are ready to learn and take in new information, we just have to find that best way to get that information to their little, easily distracted minds.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Kindergarteners like most people, learn from visual exposure. Monkey see monkey do. The number one way to teach your kids about respect is for you yourself to have respect towards others.
This is more than just respecting strangers. A child will also notice how parents treat each other. Are they treating each other with respect? Do they treat their parents (the child’s grandparents) with respect?
Make an effort to respect your partner, friends, and parents around your child. If parents are constantly disrespecting each other, it is unlikely the child will grow up to respect you (or anyone else for that matter).
Do your best to avoid arguing in front of your children. The reason is, most disrespect happens at a time when emotions are really high. When you are arguing with your spouse or parents, that is the most likely time that one person will disrespect the other.
Lastly, make sure to respect the child themselves. This will not only show them how to respect another person but it will also teach them that respect is earned not given. Respect is not something implied that they should respect everyone around them. It is something they need to give before they can receive it.
Teaching With Respect Activities
Another more active way to teach respect is by age-appropriate respect activates for kindergarteners. These activities were particularly designed to help your child identify and practice respect.
Some of these activities are fun, while others will be hard to keep their attention.
Make it a priority to spend time each day working on teaching your child respect. If you are able to successfully ingrain your children with respect, that quality will serve them throughout their lives.
My advice would be to do one of the activities everyday with your child. Switch between them to they don’t get bored. Constancy is key.
The Best Respect Activities for Kindergarteners
Here are the best activities to teach your little one about respect.
1. Daily Compliment Homework
Guess what? Your kindergartner just got some extra homework from you. This respect activity is meant to get your child to compliment and show gratitude to another individual every day.
You may be asking yourself, what does gratitude and compliments have to do with respect?
Those we are grateful for and those we believe are worth compliments are those we respect.
You are essentially training your child to see the good in people. With nothing more than getting your child to take notice of the good features in others, we are teaching them to respect those individuals.
There are hundreds of ways to execute this activity but the way I did it with my son is that when I picked him up from school, he had to compliment or appreciate another student or teacher.
In the beginning, I would park and walk with him around the school picking the lucky person that would receive a compliment. Now he does it automatically. Now he gets in the car and tells me who he gave a compliment to.
For example, “I told Ms. Leon how much I liked the the reading activity today”.
Overtime your child will no longer need the homework and will start to appreciate and respect those around them more often.
2. Make a List
Sit with your kindergartener and make a list of people you think deserve respect.
First explain to them what respect means and go first giving a name and why they deserve respect.
Here is a great example, “I respect my doctor because he works hard to keep me healthy” Now write “Dr. Leon” as number one on your list of people your respect. Now give your child the chance to come up with a name and why they respect them.
This game is great for helping your child identify the kinds of people that deserve our respect.
Here is a list to get them started:
- Law Enforcement
- Fire Fighters
- Medical Workers
This is also a great activity to get them writing more, therefore also increasing their literacy.
3. Use Real World Examples
This is hands down my favorite respect activity for kindergarteners. This activity involves pointing out whenever you or someone around you is showing respect to another individual.
Just the other day my son was watching a Scooby-Doo. Right after they saved a city from a “monster” the people of the city were showing gratitude and respect to the scooby gang.
Immediately I saw it as an opportunity to show my son what respect looks like in action. I explain to him that the people of the city showed respect to the crime-solving gang out of appreciation for their work in protecting the city.
Anytime you and your child witness respect in the real world, be sure to point it out.
How to Get your Kindergartner to Respect You
I once heard that the measure of your success as a parent is whether or not your child respects you when they are adults. That starts with the effort you put in teaching them respect as small children.
The best way to get your child to respect you is to respect them. Respecting a child is not easy. I’m not saying we disrespect our children, but we inadvertently make them feel like we do not value them.
Let me give you a prime example of how we accidently show our children a lack of respect.
You are driving home from the soccer game. You and your child are hungry and are looking for a place to eat. Chances are, they will suggest McDonald’s right off the bat. If you are not in the mood for McDonald’s you’ll probably just ignore their suggestion.
In reality, we should explain to them that we are not in the mood for McDonald’s and would rather eat elsewhere.
These small examples of respect will teach our children that we do in fact respect them, their thoughts, and their opinions.
Want your child to respect you? You better be respecting those around you.
Being disrespectful to those around you is a surefire way to raise a disrespectful child.
Make a conscious effort to respect people especially when you are around your children. Be extra kind and respectful when going to the grocery store or talking to their teachers. They are paying attention to everything we say and do.
One of the truest forms of respect is respecting yourself. Avoid putting yourself down especially in front of your children. Without realizing it, we are disrespecting ourselves on a daily basis.
Even saying things like, “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” is a clear dismissal of your ability to perform. Your child is noticing these conversations we have with ourselves and with others.
Chances are they will mimic our behavior whether negative or positive.
Being respectful and being a pushover are not the same thing. Although the line can get blurry at times there is a clear difference between the two.
If someone is not deserving of respect do not offer them respect just because your children are around. Know when to stand up for yourself. This could also be a great learning opportunity for your child.
If you do end up getting into an altercation with someone in which disrespect did occur, make an effort to point it out to your child. Explain to them that some people are not deserving of our respect and admiration.
Respect is one of the cornerstone lessons we need to be teaching our kids.
By respecting ourselves and those around us, we are teaching our children how to respect others as well as how to be deserving of respect. It is our responsibility to teach them that respect is not given it’s earned.
Take daily action to teach your child the basic principles of success. Use these 3 respect activities for kindergarteners to raise an adult that respects themselves and others.