STEM Profile of the Month - December 2019

RESPECTFUL -- At Spark! Discovery Preschool, we define Respectful as, Respectful: I show that I care for others, our world, and myself.”

Here is an article called “How to Teach Respect, Ages 3 to 4,” by the folks at Baby Centre, with a link/source listed below:

“What to expect at the preschool age

Trying to get respectful behavior out of a three or four year old is like trying to get blood from the proverbial stone. That's due, in part, to the fact that her language skills are still developing. So, when you tell her it's bedtime, she's unlikely to say, "I'm really having fun in the bath. I wonder if I could have five more minutes of playtime?" She's more likely to splash and yell, "No!" with gleeful rebellion glittering in her eyes. Preschoolers are also starting to wonder what kind of power they wield within the family. They start testing a little bit. It’s perfectly normal behavior for preschoolers to do this, and it’s just another part of their development. Despite the need for three and four year olds to test their boundaries, you can – and should –start teaching good manners now. So don't wait to begin teaching your child the importance of respect.                       

What you can do to teach respect?

Demonstrate respectful behavior. We don't generally give our children the kind of respect that we demand from them. It can be hard to wait patiently for a child to have her say, but it's worth it. Get down on her level, look her in the eye, and let her know you're interested in what she's telling you. It's the best way to teach her to listen to you just as carefully.

Teach polite responses.  Your child can show caring and respect for others through good manners. As soon as she can communicate verbally, she can learn to say "please" and "thank you." Explain that you'd rather help her when she's polite to you, and that you don't like it when she orders you around. Again, being respectful yourself works better than lecturing. Say "please" and "thank you" regularly to your child (and others), and she'll learn that these words are part of normal communication, both within your family and in public.

Don't overreact: If your preschooler calls you a "poo head," try not to get upset (after all, you know you're not a poo head). A child who wants to provoke a reaction will endure almost any unpleasantness just to get a reaction out of you. Instead, get face to face and say quietly but firmly, "We don't call each other names in our family." Then show her how to get what she wants by being respectful: "When you want me to play with you, just ask me nicely. Say, ‘Mom, please can you come and have a tea party now.’"

Expect disagreements. Life would be much easier if our children always happily complied with our requests, but that's not human nature. Try to remember that when your youngster won't do as you ask, she isn't trying to be disrespectful – she just has a different opinion. Teach her that she'll fare better if she can learn to stop expressing herself disrespectfully ("You never take me to the park, you bad Mom!") and instead learns to put a positive spin on her requests ("Can we please go to the park after shopping?").

Set limits. One of the best ways to demonstrate respect is to be both kind and firm in your discipline. Being kind shows respect for your child, and being firm shows respect for what needs to be done. So if your three or four year old throws a fit in the supermarket, and none of your coping tactics work, what do you do? Kindly but firmly take her out to the car, and sit and read a magazine until she's done. Then you can say calmly, "Now you're ready to try again," and return to the shop. Gradually she'll learn that a temper tantrum doesn't alter the fact that the food shopping has to be done.

Talk it over later. Sometimes the best way to handle disrespectful behavior is to discuss it with your preschooler later, when you've both had a chance to calm down. You can validate her feelings and make your point by saying, "I could tell you were very upset. What do you think caused that? What would be a more respectful way to tell me how you're feeling?" If a child knows you're really curious about her thinking, she'll probably come to the same conclusion you would.

Praise respectful behavior. Reinforce your child’s impromptu displays of politeness as much as possible but be specific. The praise should describe the behavior in detail. We tend to say, "good girl," "good boy," "well done." Instead, say, "Thank you for saying please when you asked for some juice," or "Thank you for waiting for your turn while the other children got their ice cream". Be explicit, and your child will quickly learn that her efforts are worthwhile and appreciated.”

Source:, 1/27/15

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