For Parents of Little Ones

“No hitting! Now say you’re sorry.”

But what if your child doesn’t feel sorry? How can you help your child learn to apologize sincerely and understand how to repent?

Here are some tips:

  • Help your child feel empathy: “Oh no. Your brother is crying. Why do you think he’s sad?”

  • It’s OK for you to voice the apology the first few times. “She’s sorry she made you sad. Next time, she will ask you before playing with your toy.” Your little one may be afraid to admit wrongdoing because she thinks you’ll be mad. You can model the importance of apologizing until she feels safer saying the words herself.

  • Ask, “What can you do to make it better?” If your child can’t think of ways to right his mistake, offer one or two ideas and help him follow through.

  • When you’ve slipped up and hurt feelings, apologize to your children with the same honesty and humility you want them to show. When you need to, ask for Heavenly Father’s forgiveness in family prayer. With time, your example of mending relationships will prepare your little ones to say they’re sorry—and mean it!