Teaching children the virtue of ‘respect’

There are many ways people show respect, and the more aware children are of what respectful actions look and sound like, the more likely they are to incorporate those behaviours in their daily lives.


Below are some activities for children to learn about the meaning and value of respect. You might like to choose an activity for each day of the week, to help children grow a deeper understanding of the virtue of respect.





Look up the definition of respect (or visit www.embracevirtues.com/virtue-of-the-month).


Write down the definition and/or draw a picture to represent the concept of respect and what this means to you and your family.


You might like to make a scrapbook to add to and use as a journal for the week.






Find 5–10 different words that mean almost the same thing as ‘respectful.’

Chat to your child about these words (synonyms).


You might like to write each synonym on a peg and make a mobile with them.


Or write the synonyms on paddle pop sticks to use as seed labels – planting a seed for each synonym to create a little garden of respect.






Conversation prompts.


Describe a respectful way to answer the phone. Talk about and practice how you might answer the phone respectfully in your home.

You might also like to chat about the following scenario and how you might show respect:


You are invited to your friend’s home for a family dinner. What are some ways you could show respect and courtesy when your first arrive? At their table? When you leave?





Make a list of people you think are respectful and why you added them to your list.


You might like to create a collage with photos of some people you respect (and who you feel are respectful) adding them to your scrapbook along with the definition of respect.






Watch a half hour TV show together or read a story book. Chat about which characters are respectful or disrespectful, and why?





Think of someone who is respectful and talk about why they would be a good friend. You might like to make a card for them by writing a word for each letter in the word RESPECT to describe this person celebrating their respectful nature.





Describe ways you have acted respectfully or disrespectfully this week.


From your conversation, make a list of things people say who are respectful. Here are a few examples: “Please.” “Thank you.” “I appreciate that.” “May I hold the door?” “Pardon me.” “I’m sorry I offended you.”


Make a list of things people do who are respectful. Here are a few examples: hold the door open for someone who needs help, listen without interrupting, place their rubbish in the bin…






  • Why is acting respectfully important?


  • What are some ways of showing respect in other cultures?


  • What are three ways you can show your teacher respect?







  • List five ways we could show greater respect for our environment


  • Create a ‘recipe’ for respect. What ingredients do you need?


  • Make a collage of a respectful world. Draw pictures or paste magazine clippings that show different ways you can show respect to yourself, to other people, to property, and to the environment.


  • The best way to teach your child about respect is for you to show respect to yourself, your child, and others. Children are greatly influenced by the adults in their lives –parents, teachers, coaches etc. Observing respectful adult behaviour helps your child learn the value of respect and how to use it to their advantage.




Keep in mind that schools may teach children about respect, however it is parents who hold the most influence over their young children. If you are caught bad-mouthing the opposing team during a soccer game or screaming an obscenity at someone who just cut you off, your child will take this as a cue that it’s okay to be disrespectful to others.


Most importantly, treat your children with respect. Truly listen to them when they have something to say. Let them know that their words and feelings are important to you. Help them learn to appreciate and take care of their things by respecting their personal property.


Remember, you are your child’s role model and they constantly look to you for clues to be the best person they can be.



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