What to Say to Little Kids Instead of "Say Sorry"

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When furloughed opposite preschools for my daughter, we visited one where we got to observe a kids personification on a playground. While climbing a ladder on a slide, a small child incidentally stepped on a small girl’s finger, and she started crying. What happened subsequent left me astounded.

The boy, who was 3, went adult to a girl, looked her in a eye and asked, “Are we okay? Can we get we a soppy towel?”

She wiped her tears, shook her conduct no, and they both went behind to playing.

I looked during a preschool director, like, uh, what was that?

“We don’t make kids contend ‘sorry,’” she explained. “The word doesn’t meant many though an movement to assistance make things better.”


The sell was such a depart from what we was used to observant among parents, who tend to force apologies from their children for each random bump, whack, and knock-down of a just-built Lego masterpiece. Usually, they’ll give a child a unrelenting look, and ask, “Hey, what do we say?” Then, when a child mutters a robotic “sorry,” all is good! Manners! We’re training them!

But this proceed competence be mostly meaningless, writes Heather Shumaker in her book It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids. Children love a word “sorry,” Shumaker explains, as it magically lets them off a hook. “It’s a small like training kids to be hit-and-run drivers,” she writes. The problem with a “sorry” resolution is that many immature children—say, preschool age—haven’t reached a theatre of dignified growth to indeed feel sorry, so relatives are blank a pivotal event to learn genuine empathy.

Shumaker writes:

Young kids infrequently dope us. They can impersonate “Sorry” and even cry when another child cries, though many children are not able of being contemptible yet. Children differ—you might have an early bloomer—but many children simply miss a romantic and cognitive growth to feel remorse. Remorse requires a ability to take another person’s viewpoint and entirely know means and effect. These skills are still rising in immature children. Expecting immature kids to contend “Sorry” teaches them zero some-more than a misled doctrine in sequence: kick, contend “Sorry,” pierce on.

Instead, relatives can assistance kids rise dignified care by explaining that their actions have consequences, display that they can do something to make things improved and displaying ways to use a word “sorry” meaningfully.

For bland accidents, Shumaker offers these steps:

Bring a Kids Together 

Sometimes, when children trust they’re about to be in trouble, they run, Shumaker explains. If this happens, we can put an arm around a child, and contend something like, “You need to come behind here. Callie got hurt. Even if we didn’t meant to do it, she got hurt, and we need to come back.”

Tell a Child Who Caused a Accident What Happened, And Be Specific 

Even when what happened seems obvious, it needs to be forked out to a immature child. State a facts. “Your selling transport ran over her toe.” “Your palm knocked a crater of H2O onto her painting.” “You were dancing and your arm whacked her face.”

Describe What You See

Examining a contribution of a stage helps kids rise empathy. Emphasize a consequences of their actions for a other child (or adult), and be specific: “Look, he’s crying. There’s a blemish on his arm. It contingency hurt.”

Model Empathy for a Hurt Child

Ask a child: “Are we okay?”

Take Action

While small kids might not entirely know remorse, a book explains, they are good during holding action. They can run to squeeze a Band-Aid or an ice pack, or assistance purify adult a disaster they made. Help them take responsibility.

Make a Guarantee

Shumaker writes, “Reassurance that it won’t occur again means something. ‘Sorry’ does not.” To reestablish trust among a kids, she writes, have a child who caused a collision make a pledge to a other child that she won’t do it again. You can ask, “Are we going to strike him again?” or have her contend a words, “I won’t strike we again.”

Model Saying “Sorry” in Your Own Life

Eventually, we do wish kids to contend “sorry.” But instead of creation them contend “sorry,” Shumaker writes that it’s some-more effective to indication observant contemptible when we as a primogenitor screw up. Just make certain your possess apologies are meaningful. That means acknowledging a consequences of your actions and holding stairs to make things better. For example: “I’m contemptible we forgot to move your teddy bear to propagandize day. You missed him during snooze time. I’m essay it down on my list so we will remember subsequent time.”

Soon, kids contend “sorry” though prompting, and they’ll unequivocally meant it.

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Posted by on Oct 10 2017. Filed under Gadgets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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