Six Apology Steps for Kids


1 _ Say “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.” Luckily, little kids don’t usually have the vocabulary to futz around with dodges like “What a pity that happened to Bodger’s teddy bear. Sad!” And they should apologize to the person who was hurt or upset.

2_ For what they did. Specifical­ly, “for calling you a big sucky liar,” not “for calling you names.”

3 _ Acknowledg­e the effect. “Barbie’s never going to get those heels on again.”

4 _ Explain why they did it. Optional. This may be hard for kids, who sometimes have no idea why they do things. Still: “I thought it would be funny if it was raining fruit punch, and I didn’t realize you’d get sticky and have to take a bath and change your clothes.” Just be sure, as your kids get older, that they understand the difference between an explanatio­n and an excuse. It’s often better to avoid the former if the kid tends to start sliding into the latter.

5 _ Tell the person harmed

Why they’re safe now. Aka “I’ll never do it again.”

6 _ How will you make it up to

them? “I’m going to help sew Bodger’s legs back on.” “You can have my Barbie.” “Here’s the booger. Feel free to chase me with it.”

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