April Family Focus: Apology of Action Family Meeting

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how important helping our girls learn how to make an authentic apology is to us, and I referenced Responsive Classroom’s “apology of action” as a terrific way to model, practice, and teach authentic apologies.

So, what is an apology of action? An apology of action stems from the larger umbrella consequence of “you break it, you fix it,” which is exactly what it sounds like— children take responsibility for fixing what they’ve broken. Yes, it means that if he breaks a toy, he finds a way to fix it, or if she spills her milk, she cleans it up.

But, “you break it, you fix it” also covers hurting someone’s body or hurting someone’s heart, and that’s where we teach children to fix their mistakes through an apology of action. Yes, we teach children to say “I’m sorry” (when they’re ready… I am a full believer in not forcing this!), but we also teach them to think deeply about an action they can do to show their remorse, to fix what they’ve broken.

And apologies of action take intentional teaching, modeling, practicing, reminding, and teaching again before children have internalized this language, thinking, and behavior. To that end, we used our family meeting last night to talk about apology of action, practice apology of action, and brainstorm possible actions for some common mistakes that we see in our house. Of course, we made a chart to hang in our kitchen!

Are you familiar with apologies of action? Will you join us in helping your children learn this method of authentic apologies?

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