1. Look at the other person (look)
2. Use their name (name)
3. Tell them you are sorry and what you did that was wrong (sorry)
4. Promise not to do it again (promise)
If you use the same process consistently it will not take too long before your child can share an apology independently. Prompting by using the key words: look, name, sorry, promise can also be helpful when the child is familiar with the process but just needs a little help.
Here's how the apology might sound:
"Michael, I am sorry I took your ball without asking. Next time I will ask you before I take anything belonging to you. "
The other child should acknowledge the apology by responding, "I forgive you, Nick" or "I accept your apology, Nick." or "Thanks for the apology, Nick" Being hurt by another person is not ok so I prefer not to respond by saying, "That's ok."
Restoring is an important aspect of setting things right in a relationship. Therefore, you might also consider your child doing something additional to help fix the problem. Some examples....
If the ball was thrown away........ go and get it back
If the toy was damaged........buy another one
If a mess was made..............clean it up
If a child was excluded.........invite the other child to play
The apology process is a simple, calm, healing time for all parties.