How to Teach Children to Respect the Community


Your community is a source of entertainment, education, support and fulfillment for your entire family. Children are naturally curious about the world around them and yours might have questions about different people and traditions within the community. By responding honestly and exposing your children to all of the benefits a community has to offer, you can teach him to respect differences, care for the community and better appreciate the world around him.

  • Volunteer within your community and invite your child to do the same. Even young children can help out at community events, volunteer at the food bank or come with you as you offer your time to various groups. Volunteerism teaches your child that a community works best when everyone is involved -- citizens give a little to get a lot back.

  • Attend and support community events and programs. Whether it's a 4th of July celebration, a parade, a local high school game, a community-wide recycling initiative or a town hall meeting, it's important your child actively experiences how a community operates, gets to know his neighbors and enjoys some of the fun benefits of a healthy and robust community.

  • Care for your community and ask that your child do the same. Walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash together or go to the park and clean up the play structures. Teach your child that a community works best if everyone cares for and respects the various buildings and spaces within the community.

  • Expose your child to some of the different cultures, belief systems and lifestyles within your community, suggests Scholastic. This teaches your child that not everyone has to be the same to live in a community. In fact, a diverse community has benefits, like different life experiences, types of cuisine, religious customs and opportunities for learning about the world.

  • Answer your child's questions about the community honestly. Never make him feel ashamed about asking a question. For instance, he might ask why a family is a different color or why they don't go to the same place as you do for religious observances. Your job is to tell him that everyone is different, but this is OK. Explain to him that he should respect all the different types of people within the community.

  • Model respectful behavior yourself, suggests Elizabeth Erwin, Ed.D. and Leslie Soodak, Ph.D. in an article for If your child hears you complaining about a community event or your neighbors or sees you neglecting or abusing your environment, he'll learn that you put a low value on the idea of working together and respecting others. Set a good example and your child will follow your lead.


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