How often do you find yourself holding the door open for a stranger, or helping your neighbor with their garbage can? We find ways to be respectful everywhere we go. It may not be intentional all the time, but modeling small gestures of kindness to others in the community sends a strong message to our children.
For the most part, we give and show respect in our daily lives without even thinking twice. As parents we are always in the spotlight and although our children are always watching, we can’t assume that they will grow up and take on the same role without being shown how. So what can we do to teach them about respect outside of our homes?
Start with Simple Tasks

A good place to start is by introducing our children to easy tasks like cleaning up garbage on our block and helping neighbors when they need a hand. It’s a great way to show them what respect means to us and to other people in our neighborhood.


Try this challenge: make a list of tasks or gestures children can participate in
By brainstorming a list of respectful tasks or gestures that can be done in the community and throughout the neighborhood, it lets our children know the safe activities from the risky ones, and which ones they have our permission to do.
For example:
1. Helping Mrs. Wilson carry her garbage cans to her house from the curb
2. Picking up garbage on the ground
3. Holding the door for the person behind you
Once the list is created hang it on a wall or on the fridge where everyone can see it.


The Rules of the Challenge

• Everyone in the family needs to complete one respectful or kind gesture a week.

• Once your weekly task is complete, write it on a chalk board/white board/ or pad of paper.
• At the end of the week sit down as a family and talk about everyone’s completed tasks.
This could be a simple one-week activity or could go on for as long as a month. The important part of the challenge is to ask how it made everyone feel. More often than not, your children will tell you about the positive feelings they felt. The goal of this activity is to help our children learn that doing kind, helpful, polite and respectful things for others is positive and is greatly appreciated by everyone.
For more activities that teach children respect in the community, visit


Participate in the Community
When is the last time we took the time to roll up our sleeves and ask how we could help in our community? Let’s face it, life is busy and keeping up with our schedules and our children is crazy enough as it is. Although it may be hard to set aside the time, volunteering is an awesome way to give respect back to the community.
Volunteering is a great way to spend an afternoon or even a whole day with the family. It’s a chance for us to show our children that even a small gesture like lending a hand can make the biggest difference. It’s also a chance to show them and that there are many other people who do kind and respectful things for the community as well.
The great thing about volunteering is choosing the type of experience that we would like our children to have. There are so many different non-profit organizations to volunteer within our local communities and they all love extra helping hands. Not sure where to volunteer? Check out your local community organizations, many cities have an organization, a weekly update in the newspaper or a webpage that summarizes the many volunteer opportunities!


“Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories.”


We’ve heard variations of this quote at one time of another. It’s important for us to show our children that respect can be found everywhere we go, even beyond the community. A great way for us to model that for our kids is to show them that respecting nature is just as important as respecting each other.
Living in Northwestern Ontario definitely has its benefits. Surrounded by nature and the beautiful, and often clear night sky, with views of aurora borealis, are a couple of those treasures. In addition, there are countless fun and free activities for families to do outdoors; you just have to look for them and plan.


Here are a few tips for showing respect in nature:
Leave nothing but footprints – Before getting out of the car or at the beginning of your adventure explain that having respect for nature means leaving everything the way that we found it. If we leave our garbage behind, it not only pollutes the environment but makes a huge mess.
Take nothing but pictures – We should remind our kids that when we visit beautiful places like nature trails, lakes and parks, it’s important for us to keep in mind that it’s the home of many different kinds of animals. To respect where they live, we need to keep our distance and give them space.
Keep nothing but memories – We should also let them know that it’s our responsibility to leave everything as we found it so that the animals and plants have a safe home and other people can enjoy their visit as well.
For more information on teaching respect in nature and the environment, visit Kids Health “Raising Earth-Friendly Kids.”


I Can! Kids’ encourages all types of learning experiences, especially if they involve family. Our personalized children’s book give kids the chance to incorporate friends and family into their stories for a creative and inspirational learning tool.
Our personalized children’s books help parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches show children when they believe in themselves, and have confidence they will achieve their dreams and when they have respect for others, they will find success in their lives. To learn more about I Can! Kids or to personalize a book of your own, visit


Does your family participate in the community? We would love to hear all about it. Leave us a comment below or tell us all about it on Facebook or Twitter.

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