All parents want to teach their kids to apologize and at times we force our kids to do so. This probably makes parents feel better but the children involved rarely understand the effects of their behavior or the lack of it. Would it not be better to put the ‘sorry’ on the side for a bit, calm down and collect yourselves and follow these few tips to ensure kids actually say sorry and mean it.
#1. As much as you are tempted to get into lecture mode, resist it. Instead, replace this lecture with a few questions that will help your preschool child understand his actions and emotions. For example, as him “What were you feeling when you broke Jane’s doll’s head?” This will help your child to understand his emotions and take responsibility for them. You want them to know that it is okay to feel upset, frustrated and angry but the action that followed is not acceptable. Tie in this feeling with the effect it had on the other person. Ask, “How do you think Jane feels now that her doll is broken?”
#2. Instead of dishing out the usual punishment after an action like mentioned above, focus on a solution instead. You can probably ask your child what he can do to make it right. Children learn better through action than words so after a verbal apology, it is good to add an act of kindness such as fixing what’s broken or writing a card for the injured party.
#3. Role play the situation again between you and your preschool child and give him a chance to make a better choice this time. Discuss with him ways he can handle his emotions for next time. He will be more likely to use your positive tactics next time.