How to Teach Forgiveness to Preschoolers

How to Teach Forgiveness to Preschoolers

Teaching forgiveness to preschoolers is not an easy task. As famously said by Mahatma Gandhi “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. Kids often tend to feel wronged by their peers, teachers, or family members. kids who do not learn the concept of forgiveness, keep harboring negative emotions. These negative emotions can adversely affect the growth of a child. Children need to learn to forgive not for others but for their well-being.

Introduction to Teaching Forgiveness to Preschoolers 

Why Teaching Forgiveness at a Young Age is Important 

It is important to teach forgiveness to preschoolers for their social and emotional development. When kids are small they create a base for their interpersonal relationships and slowly try to understand their place in the world. when kids learn forgiveness early on, they also develop empathy and compassion for others. Forgiveness teaches preschoolers to let go of the emotions that do not serve them. In the process of learning forgiveness, kids also learn to forgive themselves. They learn to be kind to themselves and hence develop a better self-image.

Challenges in Teaching Forgiveness to Preschoolers

Teaching forgiveness to preschoolers gives rise to a lot of challenges. Small kids slowly develop their cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence. Parents can not expect kids to forgive others just the way adults do. Small kids learn to regulate their emotions with time. Constantly forcing them to forgive others is not going to work because kids do not understand concepts that way. It is not easy for small kids to empathize and understand the perspective of others when they feel hurt by their actions. Parents have to teach kids by constant good examples and not by forcing them to do what they wish. when parents want to teach life-enhancing skills like forgiveness to their kids, they have to choose various creative methods appropriate for the age of their kids.

Understanding Forgiveness for Preschoolers

What is Forgiveness? Explaining to Preschoolers 

Parents have to use understandable terms when trying to teach the importance of forgiveness to preschoolers.  Introduce kids to the concept of forgiveness by teaching them to let go of the hurt when someone says sorry for their mistake. Parents should also explain to the kids that forgiving someone is not equal to forgetting what they did. Parents can explain that by forgiving the person, they can let go of the negative emotions that are harming them. Parents can use examples like encouraging their kids to forgive a friend for breaking a toy. 

Developing Empathy in Preschoolers

For teaching children forgiveness it is very important to be kind to the kids when trying to teach the importance of empathy. Parents should give children examples that are relatable to their kids. Parents can remind kids of the incidents where they accidentally broke the toy of their friend and their friend still forgave them. By giving such positive examples parents can explain to kids that anyone can make mistakes and one has to be empathetic to the people around them.

Strategies for Teaching Forgiveness to Preschoolers

Learning the art of forgiveness is a valuable life lesson for children that is going to help them even in their adulthood in maintaining healthier relationships. These are some tips that parents can use to teach their kids the importance of forgiveness. By incorporating these strategies in the day-to-day lives of kids, parents will prepare them for a better future ahead.

Teaching Forgiveness to Preschoolers

1. Storytelling and Role-playing Activities

Storytelling and role-play are some of the easiest yet most effective ways of teaching children concepts that are difficult for them to understand otherwise. Parents can form creative stories where the characters are made in such a way that they make mistakes, unintentionally hurt others or themselves and learns to forgive others and themselves. Parents should always end their stories with morals. Parents can also ask direct questions to their kids after storytelling, eg. what did you learn from the story or What would you do if you were at the place of a certain character? Such stories will help kids in developing their thinking and learn new moral lessons. 

In role-playing parents can create a story around forgiveness by actively participating as a character while encouraging their kid to do the same. Parents can have a two-characters role play with their kid where they can be a character of a friend to the kid who mistakenly broke the toy of the kid and now parents can see the reaction of their kid in such a situation. While role-play parents can teach their kids how they can easily resolve conflicts between them and the people around them.

2. Encouraging Communication and Expressing Emotions

While teaching forgiveness to preschoolers, parents need to encourage their kids to share their emotions and openly communicate with them. It is the responsibility of parents to create an environment where children do not feel judged while sharing their thoughts. Parents should try to understand the situation of their kids when they are hurt and upset. Parents can help the kids to identify their emotions into feelings like anger, envy, or sadness. A child can only learn to forgive when he is aware of his emotions and can understand what he is feeling. parents can ask kids about their opinion on a certain situation that requires them to forgive someone and after they answer it, parents can explain another point of view of that situation, helping kids make better decisions.

3. Modeling Forgiveness in Everyday Interactions 

When teaching forgiveness to kids parents can model forgiveness in everyday life. Kids learn by the behavior demonstrated by their parents. If parents are always angry and speak negatively of the people in their lives, kids will also learn to behave similarly. Parents should have a positive demeanor to develop positive behaviors in their kids. Parents should learn to forgive others who hurt them intentionally or unintentionally and try to make amends with them when possible. By seeing such examples, kids will also learn the importance of forgiveness for emotional healing and inner peace. Parents have to be that powerful role model that their kids can look up to and follow for their betterment. 


Learning forgiveness is a very important aspect of a kid’s social and emotional development. Even when teaching such an important concept to small kids is not going to be easy with the above-given tips and a thorough understanding of a kid’s personality and learning pattern parents can teach them important life lessons weaving an easier path toward healthy relationships and emotional intelligence.

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