Nannies Show Kids How to Apologize

Apologizing to Children

We all make mistakes — plenty of them. As nannies we are important role models for the children in our care. It’s important for us to confess and to apologize to children when we make mistakes. Doing so teaches children to do the same.

It’s not enough to just say we are sorry. We must model proper behavior for children by admitting that we are wrong, made a mistake, and not be ashamed to apologize.

It’s hard for toddlers to understand the concept of apologizing. But like other important social skills (like saying please and thank you) kids need to practice apologizing from a young age.

A study in the journal Child Development showed that when parents tried to help their children empathize with the person who was hurt, as opposed to forcing their children to get along, the children were more empathetic and tended to engage in positive social acts. The more often you ask children to consider how they have affected others, the more likely they will behave well.

What to Say:

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way. Please forgive me.”

“I should have apologized before now. I’m sure I hurt your feelings by waiting for so long.”

“I was wrong to get so upset with you over such a small thing. I apologize.”

“I bet you are hurt over what I said. I made a mistake. I was wrong and I hope you will forgive me.”

How Not to Say It:

“I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t have yelled at you if you had done what I asked.

“Don’t be so upset. You know I didn’t mean it.”

When trying to get kids to apologize to you or someone else, don’t insist they sound sincere. They probably won’t sound sincere, at least not right away. The first thing they need to learn is that they were wrong. Later, when emotions are not as intense, help them to think about how they hurt someone else’s feelings and what they can do to make amends.

What to Say:

“This problem will not go away until you say you are sorry.”

“You broke your brother’s toy on purpose. Tell me how you think he felt when you did that.”

“I heard you tell your sister you were sorry. That meant a lot to me. Good for you.”

How Not to Say It:

“If you don’t apologize, you can forget going swimming today.”

It takes time for children to gain empathy for others and learn to apologize. But we must encourage them to apologize when they make mistakes and role model by apologizing to them and others when we make mistakes as well.


How to Say It to Your Kids

%d bloggers like this: