Teaching kids to respect others is really important, especially in the early years. But unlike other early skills, parents don’t always get many opportunities to model respect, especially in ways that make sense to kids. Children’s books about respect can really help your little ones learn how to treat others.
Children’s Books About Respect
When kids are little, we do so much teaching based on modeling. While it’s easy to demonstrate respect to kids, it can be tough for them to relate it to their own lives. Books make it easier to show kids situations that they’ll encounter and offer solutions before problems happen.
That second part is really the key driver in my choices for books on this list. They don’t just show kids how to behave in different situations, but they’re also an opportunity to discuss different types of respect for others.
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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Going to kick off this list with the absolute best book about teaching respect for kids. The concept is simple: everyone has a bucket that needs to be filled each day. You can either help fill other peoples’ buckets (through kindness) or dip into their buckets and take (through unkind behavior.) It also focuses on the actions, not the person’s character, which I love for kids.
A Little Respectful SPOT
I like that this book doesn’t just talk about respecting people, but also places and things. It also models real-world situations that your kids will probably encounter – especially at school or daycare.
The Choices I Make
Self-regulation is a big reason why young kids end up disrespecting others, the rules, or the environment around them. Books like this one help teach good decision-making, which includes managing their anger. The Choices I Make also has some strategies for kids to cool down too.
The Rabbit Listened
The Rabbit Listened is a different kind of book about respect; respecting feelings. For example, a little boy is sad in the story, but everyone just wants to tell him what to do. All except the rabbit, who listens, which is just what he needs!
These frogs do nothing but fight about everything on their island – but eventually, they learn that sharing is more fun. I like this book because it’s more of a storybook-style narrative than some of the other books out there about respect.
How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends
This book is part of a larger series about dinosaurs exploring life skills. They’re actually super cute books, and I find them to be a bit more engaging than stories that just have people in them. Plus, if you find your kids like it, there’s a bunch of options to choose from!
My Mouth Is A Volcano
Have some kids at home who are always interrupting? It’s not that they’re trying to be rude or disrespectful. It just kind of comes out. My Mouth is a Volcano offers skills for kids to help with impulsive interrupting, but it presents them in a really empathetic way.
Llama Llama Time to Share
My kids absolutely love the Llama Llama book, and this one is no exception. Best for younger preschoolers, Little Llama has some drama at a playdate when asked to share. Mama Llama helps them work it out, and the friendship is mended.
Giant: A Panda of the Enchanted Forest
Respect comes in all shapes and sizes, including respect for nature. This fairy tale is about a giant panda experiencing deforestation and working together with friends to save his home. Besides being a great educational story, it’s also beautifully illustrated.
Know and Follow Rules
Rules are something all kids experience, and I really like the way this book handles the subject. It doesn’t just tell kids what to do, and it actually shows them the consequences of their actions and what positive choices look like.
Kindness is my Superpower
A lot of respecting others comes from empathy. This book covers some everyday situations where kids can be kind to people around them. I also like that it says that kindness can be learned, which is good if you’re trying to teach it.
Teach Your Dragon Respect
I might have passed these books up myself if my daughter hadn’t brought one home from school. They’re actually phenomenal at teaching kids life skills. There’s also a coloring book that you can print out that goes with it!
If you’re not familiar with the Toddler Tools series, every single book is fantastic. They’re made for the youngest readers to help them learn skills like listening or not hitting. In this one, toddlers are introduced to ways they can be better listeners.
Seeds and Trees
Kids are blunt, and most of the time, they don’t understand the consequences or impact of what they’re saying. This story uses metaphor to explain the difference between kind and harsh words. First, the words become seeds, which a prince plants. They then grow to different types of trees based on the words that they were planted with.
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
My kids are tiny comedians, so anything with a bit of humor in it works well in our house. It’s about a T-Rex who keeps eating her human classmates! She’s then sad that there’s no one to play with. At home, her parents tell her that all the kids are just like her on the inside, so she eventually spits them out and makes friends instead.
What If Everybody Did That?
It’s so easy to toss some litter on the ground or talk at storytime, but what would happen if everyone did it too? This book helps young kids see the consequences of their actions by showing them that life is better when everyone follows the rules (and that we have rules for good reasons).
The Bad Seed
This book is straight from our home library. It’s about a seed who’s been bad for his whole life. But after a while, he doesn’t want to be bad anymore – so he changes his ways. A perfect story to show kids that change is possible and that we can do it and still be ourselves.
The Warrior’s Code: And How I Live It Every Day
Blending the discipline of traditional martial arts teachings with everyday life, this is one of those children’s books about respect that focuses on standing up for what’s right, kindness, and peace.
Friends Ask First!
The Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood books are great even if your child doesn’t watch the show. Daniel Tiger shows kids how to ask others for objects and toys they may be using through real-world situations and a repetitive mantra.
Should I Share My Ice Cream?
Every single one of the Elephant and Piggie books is great for children, in my opinion. They tell stories of two friends who are always encountering tricky social situations. They’re also really fun for older kids to read on their own!
I Am Human: A Book of Empathy
Personally, I like books that are nice to read, and I Am Human is beautiful in both pictures and words. Through lyrical prose, this book shows kids that they can be the best versions of themselves.
The Color Monster
It’s very difficult for kids to learn to respect others until they learn to understand themselves. Once they start to identify feelings (with the help of books like this one), they’ll be more able to see how their actions affect others.
Using Books to Teach Children About Respect
It’s really beneficial to have a variety of books in your home library, including ones like these that teach life skills. I’d recommend grabbing a few and seeing which ones work best for your family. Many of these are also part of a series so that you can work on other social and emotional skills.
Finally, I want to mention the benefits of teaching kids to respect objects by respecting the books themselves. Often, books are the first delicate belonging children have. They’re a great opportunity to teach kids to take care of (and respect) their things.
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