How to Guide Kids in Learning to Behave Among Others: 7 Steps
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These blocks are mine. No, mine! No, mine!

When you are 2 and 3 years old, behaving among others is all about learning to share with peers and developing patience in public. As a parent, your challenges are that kids this age have little self-control and, as points out, "are more concerned about their own needs" than those of others. Hmm ... this could be a challenge. But you can handle it! Remember, parents before you have survived this phase and lived to tell about it.


  1. 1
    Set the groundwork for good behavior at home. You can't expect your tot to behave among others if he doesn't know what is expected of him. As points out, "In the early years children don't know what behavior is acceptable or unacceptable until you tell them." So, introduce the concept of sharing while you're playing together. "Can mommy have a turn with the truck?" Similarly, tell Johnny that banging his fork on the table and screaming, "I want food!" is not acceptable. Then he won't try to pull that stunt in a restaurant.
  2. 2
    Model good behavior. offers this top tip: "Above all, show (your kid) by your own example how to cope peacefully with conflicts." If you and your spouse argue over who gets command of the television remote, you can't very well expect Johnny to willingly share his toy train with the neighbor kid. Make sure your actions mirror how you want your little one to behave among others.
  3. 3
    Prepare for a play date or public outing ahead of time. If you know that little Susie is going to have a hard time sharing her favorite dolly with Sally, remove that item from the room before her friend arrives. acknowledges that "a child may reserve a few precious possessions just for himself." Similarly, if you know Susie will be bored during church, pack crayons and a coloring book to fend off fussiness.
  4. 4
    Have patience. If your difficult darling makes a play date or mall trip feel more like torture today, that doesn't mean he won't do better next time. As suggests, "The best way for your 2-year-old to learn how to behave around other people is to be given plenty of trial runs."
  5. 5
    Reprimand and remind consistently. When your little limit tester acts out at a family gathering you can't let him get away with behaving poorly. Get down on your kiddo's level and calmly explain that he must share the block with cousin Tommy, or that "we don't take food off of Aunt Jen's plate."
  6. 6
    Praise good behavior. Remember to acknowledge when your polite pumpkin does what she is supposed to do. At a play date say, "you shared the teddy bear!" Or in a restaurant, "thank you for waiting patiently for your food to arrive."
  7. 7
    Remove the problem. If your selfish sweetie is refusing to share a doll, remove the object in contention. If your hotheaded honey is throwing crayons across the diner, take them away. Ultimately, if your tot cannot control himself properly, you may have to remove yourselves. Take a time out in another room or outside. Or, if the situation calls for it, perhaps it's time to go home and try again tomorrow!

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Categories: Education and Communications

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