How can I role play to teach my kids respect?

Lynne Kenney
It’s simple: just imagine any situation where you want your kids to show respect - but instead of lecturing them, you’re going to make a game of it. They don’t need to know what’s really behind it, but it’s OK to tell them, if you think they’ll join in anyway. What are some of the everyday situations you’d like to help them anticipate through role-playing? You might make-believe practice having dinner at a friend’s place, or negotiating who gets to go first on the jungle gym, or even just getting to know a new, nervous puppy - basically, any circumstance in which being respectful will make things a little nicer.

Now, assign roles to yourself and your children. For example, you might want to help your 5- or 6-year-old understand how to engage her teacher respectfully.
You start: “I’ll be your teacher. Who do you want to be? Anyone at all…”

Respect is a fundamental element of self-esteem. Children who grow up understanding how to show and receive respect, in return, will gain confidence, effective social skills and the ability to be tolerant.

“Walk a mile in my shoes” is good advice. Your kids will learn to respect others if they are used to imagining themselves in another’s place.

Your kids will grow to recognize that respect can be applied to people, property, ideas and the environment when you create scenarios or seize practical life moments to role play and teach your kids respect. Once your kids have an awareness of these situations that require respect and they understand how to give and get respect, they will grow into very successful and confident adults.

Continue Learning about Parenting

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.