Children are not exactly known for their excellent apology skills, especially during the “terrible twos” and their early daycare and preschool years. Even the most emotionally intelligent adults have a hard time admitting when they are at fault, as well as delivering an authentic apology with an intention of repairing harm done. Work with your child on developing these skills at a young age in order to encourage them to be able to apologize in the future when necessary.
Encourage a Genuine Apology
Many kids apologize before they are truly ready to do so. What results is often a mumbled, under-the-breath, half-hearted apology that even other children can tell is not really felt by the child offering the apology. Instead of urging your child to apologize right away, talk to them about how and why they caused harm, talk to them about considering others’ feelings, and assure them that you still love them. Children have a hard time sitting with their own remorseful feelings when they are afraid that admitting fault might lose them a bit of love or affection.
Keep Excuses to a Minimum
Your child may want to say that they are sorry, but they may also have a dozen excuses lined up to explain away their behavior. However, if they have hurt the feelings of another child, that child may not want to hear excuses for hurting their feelings. A sincere apology that shows that your child knows what they did wrong is preferable to a child trying to excuse their way out of their own undesirable behavior.
How Can Things be Made Right?
Once your child has offered an apology, brainstorm with them to determine how they can help to make things better. If they accidentally ripped someone else’s artwork, maybe they can help to collect materials so that their friend or sibling can repair it. If they have knocked someone over on the playground, maybe they can offer to check for bumps or scratches, or offer an ice pack.
If your child repeatedly finds themself in the position of needing to apologize to others, help them to examine how they can behave in a way that is less harmful to others in the future. Keep this conversation positive, without blaming them for their past misdeeds, and focus on what they can work on the next time they find themself needing to make a decision between a good choice or a bad choice.
Does your child have a hard time offering an apology when they have done something to upset someone else? What kind of conversations have you had regarding apologies? Let us know in the comments section! And, if you’re looking for the best childcare center nearby, be sure to check out our daycare and preschool programs at Child’s World Academy in Monroe. Enroll today!