Our family was blessed with some empty nester friends inviting our family over for a nice dinner. They had puzzles and toys. The husband knelt and played with our boys awhile as the wife chatted with our daughter. They integrated our children into our evening together and weren’t bothered when they played the games we brought “just in case.” It was a life-giving evening together because of that couple’s ministry to our whole family. May we all be this considerate!
Many of us will be in situations where people are NOT considerate of our children, yet, have expectations of them. What a great opportunity to prepare our children to show respect! First, create a “fun bag” for your kids. Many adults enjoy children playing quietly nearby, so bring quieter toys and games that each of your kids enjoy.
Here are some tips you can teach your children directly to help them be respectful to adults.
Respond when spoken to. When an adult asks you a question, look the adult in the eye and respond to the question. We don’t expect you to talk for a long time, but It is important to respond to show respect.
Eye contact lets people know you are listening to them. If you are looking away when and adult is speaking to you, they don’t know if you understand what they are saying or what is being expected of you. This is helpful for your teachers at school and church, as well.
Show gratitude even when you aren’t being considered. If you don’t like the food being served, please try a few bites and say thank you for the meal when it is done. They worked hard to provide it for our family and we are grateful for their effort and time.
Please and Thank you are non-negotiables. It is important to say the magic words to ask for things {“May I please have another slice of bread.” “Thank you for inviting us to come tonight.”}
Eat politely. Remember to chew with your mouth closed and not speak with food in your mouth. Do not slurp and say excuse me if you accidently make mouth sounds. These are good habits for parents, too!
Consider others before yourself. Before taking seconds, ask if anyone would like more of that food before taking more. Help clear the table and serve whenever you get a chance. Ask if you can help do the dishes before going to play.
Tactful comments are important. Be attentive to our hosts. It’s ok to give compliments on something in their home or tell them what you like about the meal. It’s not necessary to talk about the things you do not like about their home, the meal, or anything else.
May these tips endear people to your children!

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17

What tips do you have to teach children respect?