It's never too early to teach respect to children. Teachers implement programs regarding respect at school, according to the National Education Association, and parents teach respect at home, and youth pastors teach respect at church. There are various activities regarding respect for all age groups. Respect lessons range from simply discussing respect to implementing hands-on activities.
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To help children understand the importance of respect, introduce a role-playing activity that gives them the opportunity to distinguish between disrespectful behaviour and respectful behaviour. Divide the youth group into teams of two or three, depending on how many children there are. Give half of the small groups the task of creating a skit that depicts respect, and tell the other half of the groups of create a skit depicting disrespect. Give the children about 10 or 15 minutes to create the skit, and then allow each group to present to the entire group. After each small group presents the skit, allow a few minutes for discussion. Ask the entire group how the skit was disrespectful or respectful, and allow the children to make comments or ask questions. This should be a fun activity, so allow children to think creatively together. This activity also promotes team building among children.
To encourage the youth group to maintain self-respect and to better respect others, assign the children to create self-portraits on paper. Using crayons, markers, paint or coloured pencils, tell the children to be creative and have fun. Tell children to write a list of things about themselves on the bottom of the paper or on the back, wherever there is room. For example, a children could write, "I love animals," "I love to paint," or "I am a great friend." Children can write whatever they want about themselves, as long as it is a positive statement. When children are finished with their art and writing projects, ask them to hang the pieces of art on the walls around the room. Encourage children to circulate around the room and look at their peers' art. After a few minutes, ask the children to sit down in a circle, and discuss the self-portraits and how everyone should show respect for others.
Collages are a way for children to interactively and creatively express themselves. Using newspapers and magazines, ask children to cut out photos that depict people showing respect. Examples of magazine pictures could be two people shaking hands or two people smiling at each other. Encourage them to cut out respectful words from the magazine or newspaper, such as "thank you" or "please." Have each child paste or tape the photos or words onto a large piece of paper. When children are finished, encourage them to share their collages with the entire youth group. Give a few minutes for overall discussion or questions at the end of the activity.
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