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Spotlight on Character Values: Respect

Being respectful of friends, family members, co-workers and even perfect strangers is so ingrained in many of us as adults that parents sometimes forget respect is a learned concept. Christle Seal, Director of Educational Programs at The Malvern School, says teaching children about respect all starts with modeling respectful behavior not only toward other adults, but, importantly, to babies and kids themselves.

Read on for more of Christle’s insights on respect in our latest Character Values Q&A. 

Q:        How do you explain the idea of respect to young children in a way they can understand?
A:        Explaining abstract concepts to young children can be difficult. Young children learn most things best by doing and through seeing those they love in action. That’s where parents and teachers come in! When adults are respectful to those around us, the little people in our care are watching and can model after us – no discussion needed!

Q:        At what age are children expected to grasp the concept and begin demonstrating respect?
A:         During infancy! Babies begin to learn respect by how they are treated respectfully by their caregivers.

Q:        How do children learn about the value of respect at The Malvern School? 
A:         There is great value in treating others as we would like to be treated, which is fundamental to our educational approach at The Malvern School. A great example of this approach is how we encourage children to greet each other at our daily Morning Meetings. We may learn a new handshake, a silly song or a new dance to accompany a friend’s name. Through these interactions, children learn that respectful exchanges are key to making pro-social connections out in the world while having fun.

Q:        What are some effective ways parents can continue teaching their children about respect at home? 
A:         Be respectful of each other, even when you disagree. Talk about your feelings of disagreement in respectful ways. Explain to your child that thinking differently is not wrong. Be kind through your differences.

Q:        What else should parents know about the value of respect?
A:         Children like to, and need to, be heard. We live in a fast-paced world. It’s very hard as parents to slow down and listen to them, but every moment we do, we teach them how much we respect them as people and value them as individuals, no matter how young they are, which is truly priceless. The respect we show them today will have immeasurable pay out in their future.

Interested to learn more about character values for children? Continue reading with “Spotlight on Character Values: Patience.”

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