How to Teach a 5-Year-old Respect


As a parent, it is your job to teach your five-year-old respectful means of getting what they want. If you ask me, movies, video games, music and You Tube seem to dignify treating people disrespectfully. For that reason, parents have to work very hard to teach their children to be respectful.

To best teach your five-year -old what respect is all about, you need to use language they can simply understand. You need to come up with a way to help your child fathom the word respect and how to use it. Start by defining the term respect (treating others in a manner that makes them feel cared for and important).

When teaching respect to your five-year-old, start with self-respect. Let him know that respecting oneself is about treating yourself in a way that makes you feel cared for and important. Children being taught to respect themselves first lays a foundation for them to respect others.

Inculcating self-respect

Self-respect is about the way a child perceives themselves. Proper self-talk is the basis of self-respect in five-year-olds. Self-talk is the inner conversation that a child has with themselves either positively or negatively. Children engage in self-talk every now and then.

The following approaches will steer five-year-olds towards a healthy self-talk

  • Negative beliefs damage self-respect

Negative beliefs diminish confidence in a child. When a child believes the negative self-talk to be true then it will be very hard to restore their self-respect.

“I can’t run fast enough” or “I’m unlovable” are inner negative beliefs that can harm a child’s self-respect.Therefore, Children at the age of five require positive reinforcement and language to motivate them to have confidence in themselves thus boosting self-respect.

  • Effects of negative beliefs

Help your five-year-old understand that negative beliefs regarding themselves only hurts them. When they conclude that they cannot do a particular thing then their mind tends to believe it. Let them know that a negative viewpoint prevents them from taking part in stuff they want to do. It makes them shy away from attempting new activities and lowers their self-confidence.

  • Changing negative beliefs that happen to be true

It is realistic to teach your five-year-old not to shut out all criticism. If a child misbehaves and someone lets them know, dismissing it does not help the child in any way. Help children recognize a valid reason why a negative thing is happening to them. For instance, if a child says “no one wants to play with me” but he is not willing to share toys, then there is a legitimate reason why the other children don’t want to play with them. The child in question should be encouraged to share so that the other children can play with him or her.

  • Substitute negative thoughts

When your five-year-old comes across a negative thought they should replace it with a positive one. By doing this their focus will be shifted to a more positive thought and they will be able to move past that which is causing the negative belief. Focusing on the positive brings about confidence and decreases negative self-talk.

It is less challenging to teach five-year-olds how to respect others when they have a good understanding of self-respect. Contented children have an easy time noticing positive characteristics in others.

As soon as your five-year-old comprehends how to respect themselves, then respecting others is the next step in how to teach them respect.

Respecting Others

Now that your five-year-old gets the significance of self-respect you can begin teaching them the importance of respecting others. Understanding the importance of respect and how to earn it gives children a sense of responsibility thus able to fit in the society.

When teaching five-year-olds respect the following approaches will come in handy

  • Set a good example

The best way to have your child behave well is through modelling the behavior you want to see. Exhibit to them respect by treating them respectfully. Generally children learn through observation and imitation. So having your five-year-old see what respect looks like from the adults around him or her increases the likelihood of them showing respect in future.

Talking to your child only about respect is not enough. You need to walk your talk by respecting the people around you. Here are ways in which respect can be modelled

  1. Working out differences courteously
  2. Being friendly to everyone
  3. Using polite words( such as You’re welcome and excuse me)
  4. Saying sorry when you offend someone
  • Teach basic social skills

Teaching your five-year-old basic interaction skills is very crucial as far as learning to respect others is concerned. Being taught basic manners like saying sorry when they are wrong goes a long way in helping them get along with others.

Using simple words such as “thank you” or excuse me” teaches them how to respect others and they also get to know how their actions affect other people.

  • Teach children how to be just

Children need to be taught that being fair makes people feel valued and that’s what respect is all about. Let them know that they should not treat others in such a way that one person is favored over the other.

When you as a parent practice justness, your child tends to pick it up and that’s how they learn. Fairness can be learnt through sharing, taking turns, following rules and making things equal.

  • Encourage the use of kind words

Encourage your five-year-old to use kind words even when trying to get their needs met. Let your child know that talking to people kindly even when under frustration shows that you respect them.

Practice will help your child realize that asking for things respectfully will make it easy for them to get what they want.

  • Have realistic expectations

As a parent you need to set realistic expectations for your child’s behavior. This may mean lowering your expectations based on your child’s behavior patterns. For example, if your five-year-old doesn’t like crowds, you can’t tag them along when going to a wedding because they might get uncomfortable and ruin it for everyone.

It helps to set limits in advance. For instance, if you are planning to have visitors over, explain clearly to your five-year-old how you would like him to behave when the visitors come.

Clear expectations will help your child to understand what is expected of them and they will know the consequences if they don’t meet those expectations. If they behave well, acknowledge their good behavior, if they don’t then you’ll have to see to it that they face the consequences.

  • Talk about disrespect

Help your five-year-old understand what not to do by discussing with them what disrespect is. Talk to your child about how they would feel if they saw someone being disrespected.

Have your child talk to you about how it would make them feel if they were to be disrespected. Let your child tell you how they would interact with others respectfully.

  • Compliment respectful behavior

Praise your five-year-old when he or she behaves respectfully and be precise about it. For example instead of saying, “That’s my star,” you can say, “Well done for saying excuse me when you needed your sister to give you way.” This shows your child that their attempts deserve appreciation.

  • Foster keeping of promises

Not keeping promises you have made to people makes them feel unimportant. Therefore encourage your five-year-old to keep their promises as it shows people that they are valued.

Let your child know that following through on their word makes them trustworthy and they should only make promises that they can keep.

Importance of teaching a five-year-old respect

Teaching your child respect helps them to understand who they are as a person and their feelings should be valued. They also get to understand that they should interact with people respectfully if they want to be respected.

Respect can be broken down into self-respect, respecting others and respect for authority. As a parent you need to help your child understand that it is important to respect the people in authority such as teachers, police officers and coaches because this will give them an opportunity to learn from the authority figures.

Teach your child that it is ok to challenge unfamiliar authority figures but they should do it respectfully. This is because following rules unquestionably so as to show respect can be problematic sometimes.













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