It’s important that we share what civility is with our kids. As we continue through the month of August, it is celebrated as National Civility Month.
With this we want to share with you how you can teach your kids the importance of what it means to have respect, dignity, and politeness towards others. Like the golden rule, treating others the way we want to be treated, but twisting it to talk through treating others how they would want to be treated as well.
Some might say that having conversations around such topics like civility aren’t easy to have with younger ages. We want to be a resource and guide for you to be able to have a conversation around what it means and how we can teach civility to kids.
So, what does civility mean?
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary civility is defined as being polite or having courtesy.
Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same.
Some examples of civility include treating others with dignity, courtesy, respect, politeness, and consideration. Speaking in tones of voice that are appropriate for the circumstances. Being respectful of others’ right to express their views, even if you disagree.
So how do we teach it?
Here are 7 ways to talk through civility with your kids.
- Think before speaking. You’ve heard the term, “No Filter.” Telling ourselves or our kids that it’s ok to speak your mind. What we need to talk about is teaching the importance of filtering thoughts before they come out of the mouths of us and our children. That creating in our minds how words are important and if we say something that doesn’t respect the other person it can hurt
- Focus on facts rather than beliefs or opinions. Teaching our children what the difference between a fact and opinion is. Facts are truth, opinions are viewpoints or judgments that are based on what we see or hear. Here is a great YouTube video that helps you walk through how to have this conversation with them.
- Focus on the common good rather than individual agendas. How do we teach this conversation to kids? How do we talk about this? It is easy to show that individual agendas can mean being selfish. Common good means what’s good for the other person. It’s not about us, it’s about them and putting them first.
- Teaching them how to disagree with others respectfully. How to have a conversation when there is a difference of opinion. We need to teach our kids how to listen. Listen to what the other person has to say and what their viewpoint is. Get their perspective and listen to respond, not react.
- Maintaining an openness to others without hostility. We must listen to our kids and ask them what makes them angry. Show them what it’s like to listen before responding and that at times even if it makes us angry that there are ways to not get hostile.
- Be respectful of diverse views and groups. This is about educating our kids about diversity. What it is and what it means when someone doesn’t look or act like they do. That what makes someone different is a good thing and brings beauty to the world.
- Be inclusive. Talk to our kids that inclusion means everyone is invited to dance at the party. Here is another resource for you to watch with your kids.
Encourage your kids to walk in someone else’s shoes. Give examples to show specific moments and conversations that could be had so that they understand.
Talking through civility with our kids and teaching them the importance of including others and understanding others makes a difference. That kindness can go a long way, but respect for the difference of others makes the world a better place. That when we put the voice of others ahead of our own and respect what someone has to say it makes an impact.
Civility is more than good manners. Civility is respecting and having these conversations with kids sooner than later makes a difference.
P.S. Many of our coloring books place the importance of civility when having conversations around some very important topics. Be sure to check them out here!
Some of our favorites!