No one likes to be dissed.

Lessons for Preschool Children on Respecting Parents

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Your preschool daughter stomps her little foot and screams, "Bad, mean Mommy" because you told her "no." You might understand her anger and frustration, but she can't get away with dissing you. A couple of practical and potent demonstrations, along with your consistent example, will show her that her honey gets her further than fire.

Model Respect

You are your child's best respect lesson. If you don’t behave respectfully, your child won’t either. Your preschooler might pretend to be the mommy and you can be her. Give her a scenario to work with and you can model how you want her to behave. After the role-play, ask her how she liked the way you treated her. She can chat about ways to respond respectfully.

Rotten Attitudes

Respect is a rotten attitude and a visual representation might help your preschooler see it. Put a piece of bread in a sandwich bag and sprinkle it with dust and water. Seal the bag and let it sit for three days. Let him check out the bread's smell and appearance. He might guess how it tastes. You can compare the stinky, spoiled food to disrespectful behavior. He might remember the stinky example the next time he's tempted to disrespect you.

The Golden Rule

Many religious traditions have variations on the Golden Rule. A story or video that demonstrates a child’s disrespectful attitude toward a parent could present a teachable moment. Your child can explain why she thinks the character behaved disrespectfully. Ask her to act out a more respectful response.

Broken Egg

Words quickly said in the heat of the moments can’t be unsaid. A visual lesson can help your child understand that. Have him break a raw egg into a bowl and stir it up. Explain that the egg represents disrespectful words when he is angry or frustrated. The fork or whisk represents how a fight and disrespectful words make both of you feel. Ask him to put the egg back in the shell like it was before he broke it. He might try it or just laugh and tell you no one can. The activity can end with a hug and promise not to break the egg when you feel angry or upset.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

Photo Credits

  • Chad Baker/Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images