As a parent, you are probably well aware of the differences between telling your child something versus showing them. Children learn best by doing. This doesn’t mean oral communication is out the door, but providing visual or hands-on activities for your children helps reinforce concepts and creates a deeper understanding.
The concept of respect can be difficult for children to grasp, so we’ve compiled a few fun activities you can participate in with your child to help teach them how to be respectful.
Activity #1: Learning Boundaries
Kids, especially younger kids, love to test physical boundaries. This activity will teach children how to be respectful of another person’s space or belongings.
You’ll need: Chalk or hula-hoop (or something to create a “boundary”).
Scenario #1: Please stop tickling
Using chalk, draw a circle. Step into the circle. Now, have your child step in and start tickling you. Politely ask your child to “stop tickling, please.” Then they must leave the circle showing respect for your request.
Scenario #2: Please give that back
If you have more than one child, this is a great activity for all of them to try.
Child two is in the circle. Child one will be playing with child two’s toy outside of the circle. Have child two ask for their toy back. Child one must enter the circle and give back the toy and then step back outside of the circle, again, showing respect for their wishes.
Activity #2: Meal Time Manners
Ask your child to whom they would most list to share a meal. This can be anyone – famous athlete, favorite musician, etc., someone important to them. Tell them they are coming over for dinner and that they will need to practice their meal time manners.
Then, review and demonstrate a list of manners (appropriate for their age) so they can start practicing them. Below is a short list of suggestions, but you get it!
- Say “please” and “thank you”.
- Sit still and sit straight (no slouching).
- Wait until everyone is seated before you start eating.
- Place your napkin in your lap before eating.
- Ask politely for people to pass food instead of reaching.
- Chew with your mouth closed.
Activity #3: Visual Board
Get out the arts and crafts materials (except maybe the glitter) and grab some poster board and magazines. Have your child look up the definition of respect and write it at the top of the poster board.
Next, have them find five pictures of scenarios of people being respectful. This could be someone helping another person, someone recycling, someone sharing, etc. Ask your child to put these on the board and explain how they are showing respect in each of the photos.
There are tons of great hands-on activities for teaching your child respect. Regardless of which you choose, the most important lesson is that you lead by example.
TKD Tip: Teach your child that there are many types of respect, including self-respect. Tell them examples of showing respect to others and showing respect to themselves so they understand the differences.