How to Teach Your Kids to Play With Others

By Jessica Cook
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While your kids may be well-behaved at home, it may be a different story when they get around other children. Kids sometimes have trouble learning how to get along and play well with others. You can fix this by teaching by instilling a few simple rules into their minds and then enforcing those rules when it comes time to play with their friends or classmates.

Step 1

Establish ground rules. Your child should have a set of rules she follows at home, involving how she should treat the people and property in your house. Enforce those rules outside of your home, too, and remind your child that she needs to behave respectfully wherever she is. Having consistent rules at home and on the playground will make it easier for your child to follow those rules.

Step 2

Demonstrate proper behavior. Your child may not understand what it is like to share toys if she hasn't ever had to share before. Play with your child at home and show her how to share and take turns; this way, when she goes out to a friend's house she will already know how to do these things. You have to be your child's model for proper behavior; she will do what she sees you do.

Step 3

Remind often. Before your child goes on a play date or invites a friend to your home, remind him of your rules. Tell him that he needs to play nicely and share well, or he may not get to have another play date in the future. Remind him that everyone should get an equal turn, suggests the American Academy of Pediatric's website, HealthyChildren.org. If you sense a heated situation arising while the children play, pull your child aside and remind him of the rules again before he breaks them.

Step 4

Start small. If your child has never really had any play dates, start with a short one. Invite another friend to your home for a small time, such as 30 minutes to an hour. This way, your child can play with another child in a small amount of time and work his way up to longer or more involved play dates in the future.

Step 5

Provide language lessons. If your child usually plays alone, she may not know how to express herself politely when playing with another child. Teach your child how to ask for something nicely, how to express her concerns politely, and how to treat everyone with respect. Remind her that she should use her good manners with other kids the same way she uses them around adults, and make sure she understands that she should try to verbally solve any problem without resorting to physical violence. Also let her know that she should find an adult to tell if another child tries to get violent with her.

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