When parents teach young children to talk, listen, and act with respect, they are clearly setting a standard for school success. In our classroom we have five simple class rules. They are:
- quiet hands
- quiet feet
- quiet lips
- eyes on the speaker (indicating that it’s not always the teacher, sometimes it’s another student)
- be respectful and kind
Together we brainstorm as to what being “respectful” is all about—and that’s something parents can easily model and practice at home.
One easy way to practice this is to include the word “respect” when setting rules and informal guidelines at home. For example:
- “We respect our possessions by neatly folding our clothes and cleaning up the mess when we are finished an activity.”
- If a child demands, “I want a cookie,” gently remind him, “Would you like to ask that again respectfully?” (Please may I have a cookie?)
- Model how to disagree respectfully. “I know that your favorite board game is Chutes and Ladders, but my favorite one is Scrabble Jr. I like that one better because it helps with spelling. I agree to play your favorite tonight and let’s play mine on Saturday night.” You’re subtly teaching that it is perfectly fine to disagree with someone, and there is always a way to work things out.
When you model giving and getting respect in your everyday family life, children will naturally incorporate this into their school career and beyond.