Teaching children about loyalty is just like teaching them any other skill. Loyalty is all about dedication to specific things or people. Parents can teach their children how to be loyal by first practicing it themselves. Children learn by watching their parents. Seeing a trait in his/her parents will help bring that trait about in him/her.
Here are some things you can do to teach your children about loyalty:
Teach respect first. Loyalty can only follow respect. It cannot be the other way around. If a child learns how to respect his or her parents, grandparents, teachers and other important figures in his/her life, he/she will be able to grasp what loyalty means much more quickly.
Sometimes hard lessons are learned through everyday things. One example is when a child is put in a rough spot with his/her friends. A set of friends gets together, they are playing nicely and the next thing you know, some kids start to turn on one of the other children. Your child will be put in the position of having to choose the bunch of "mean" friends or the one friend that is getting picked on. This is the best time to teach your child about loyalty.
Talk to your child about why it is wrong to leave out a friend just because other children are treating him or her poorly. Your child should know that "taking sides" with the one child that is being left out will show what a true friend is. Being part of the "in" crowd isn't always the smartest way to go. In fact, it is rarely the smart thing to do. "Hanging out" with the one kid who is getting picked on shows dedication and loyalty. Your child will be one of the most desired friends throughout his/her life because people treasure someone who is a loyal friend, not just a friend when everyone else thinks it is okay.
Pets can help teach children about loyalty. Dogs are especially good teachers of the meaning of this word. Dogs have a loyalty about them that children can appreciate. No matter what a child might do to a dog, the dog will remain faithful to the child's side. If your child pulls the dogs tail, the dog will easily forgive him/her. Children learn more by watching than by any other means.
Don't push this learning experience too far. Loyalty is a good thing for your children to know about. It is a good thing to practice as well. However, loyalty can actually be overdone. Being true to a friend or family member is very important, but not if it means anything illegal or dangerous. If you are teaching your child about loyalty, you must also teach him/her what is not loyalty.
You can only teach some things by putting them into practice. When you see a child acting loyally, point out that is what he/she is doing. Let your child know how much you appreciate the act of loyalty that he/she just put into action. When your child decides he/she wants to do something other than spend time with "grandma", point out that it only takes a little time to make grandma happy. This action will put the thought into your child's head for a lifetime. He/she will understand that loyalty is about sticking by someone's side even in those moments we don't really want to.
Loyalty has to come from the heart. Therefore, you must instill it in your child's heart in order for it to stick. Teaching this skill along with other life long skills will aid your child throughout life to be a better friend, son, daughter, sister, brother, mother, father, wife or husband. Teach what the word means by putting it into action.