Have you ever gotten frustrated when one of your kids says “I’m sorry” in a way that means anything but?

Or you feel like they aren’t connecting with why what they did was wrong, or what they should do differently in the future?

I have a great 3 part system to teach kids (of any age) how to make a proper and meaningful apology.

  1. I’m sorry for….

Here is where they acknowledge what they actually did that was wrong or hurtful.

     2) It was wrong because….

This step helps them to think deeper about why what they did was wrong or hurtful to the other person.

    3) Next time I will….

Having them think about what they will do differently in the future helps them to acknowledge that no one’s perfect, and that they may encounter the situation again, as well as what they can possibly do differently next time.  This helps them to become both forward thinkers and solution finders.

A few do’s & don’ts for teaching the 3 step apology.


  • Make them repeat themselves until they can say it in a respectful tone (without making faces).  Sometimes step 1 may get repeated several times, but step 2 & 3 go much easier this way. This is important so they learn that how we say something is just important as what is being said!
  • Give them the prompts to follow, having them repeat it and answer, not just answer – this is an important step because it engages their responsibility.
  • Thank them and acknowledge when they complete the steps.
  • You may want to take note of their solutions from step 3 and offer those up when/if the situation comes up again.



  • Force them to do this in the heat of the moment.  Take some time to have all involved calm down.
  • Jump in with the answers.  Give them time to think about their responses, and after they answer you can respond and help them to be more compassionate or find more solutions if needed.
  • Expect it to be perfect the first few times.  Consistent (and persistent) use helps this process to become easy, natural and meaningful, give it time to work.


Have questions, or need help with this?  I’d love to hear from you! Simply Contact me here!