Education, in a certain way, is a value that is transmitted throughout life . It is a tool that allows us to build our own personality, and that allows us to lay the foundations for living together in society.

Why is it important to educate in coexistence? What are the rules of coexistence? What are they for? In this article we will answer these questions, and we will also propose 11 rules for living together for boys and girls.

Rules for living together?

What are the rules of coexistence and what are they for? To answer these questions, first we will make a small reflection.

We will probably spend our whole life-or a large part of it-living in society, unless we go to live in the mountains as a spiritual respite, or as an alternative to a personal and respectable life.

The fact of living in society, implies a continuous interaction with other people, similar to us or tremendously different to our way of being, thinking, dressing, etc. That is why it is essential to establish a minimum number of rules for living together in order to be able to relate in an orderly, respectful and healthy way.

These standards reflect “rules of life” or ways of behaving towards others, and will help us to respect others and act to respect ourselves. Thus, it is important that we transmit these rules to the little ones, so that they grow up in a healthy way, interacting with others in an appropriate way and always respecting their individual freedom (of choice, thought, expression, etc.).

In this article we propose 11 basic rules of coexistence for children , which will teach the youngest ones how to act from a social point of view when they are in situations that involve contact with other people. These rules, if acquired from a young age, will form the basis of an education in adult coexistence.

11 rules for coexistence for children

Now that we have seen what the rules of coexistence are, what they are for and why they are so important, we will know the 11 rules of coexistence for boys and girls below .

1. Greeting when arriving at a site

The first of the rules of coexistence for children that we consider important is the fact of greeting whenever you arrive at a place . Greeting implies being educated and is part of the basic rules for living together in society. It is not necessary to always greet with two kisses (as is the tradition in Spain), but simply to say “Hello” when arriving (or “buenos días”, “buenos tardes”, etc.).

2. Saying goodbye when leaving

Just as it is important to say hello, it is also important to say goodbye when you leave . It is also a rule and an action that denotes education and good manners. Besides, we all like people to say goodbye to us when they leave a place, a meeting, a gathering, etc.

3. Give thanks

Another rule of coexistence for children is to say thank you when they do us a favour or when they have a generous act with us , even if it is only to open the door. Being grateful and appreciative is a sign of respect and consideration for others, values intrinsic to good coexistence.

4. Return the things they leave us

The next rule of living together is to return the things we have borrowed . Just as we like to have things left to us, the other person likes to have them returned. This small action will make that in the future, the others will have enough confidence in us to continue leaving us things.

5. Share

Sharing implies being generous to others and not thinking only of oneself . Thus, we can consider this action as another of the rules of coexistence for children that are important to transmit to the younger ones.

Children need to understand that, just as they would like others to share with them on occasion, they should reciprocate in that regard. This, of course, does not mean that we should make them understand that they must share everything.

6. Asking for permission

Another important rule for children, and one that it is good for them to understand as soon as they start to see reason, is the fact that we ask permission when we want to use something that is not ours, for example .

We will also ask permission (and pass it on to the children) when we want to go into a place that is not “ours”, when we want to go to a friend’s or relative’s bathroom, etc.

7. Listen

It seems very logical, but we also think it is important to consider this action as another of the rules of coexistence for boys and girls, and it is the fact of listening when they speak to us . We all like to be listened to when we speak, so it is another sign of respect and education to also listen to others when they speak to us.

Listening means paying attention and showing interest in what is being explained. Sometimes what we are told will not be interesting to us (nor should we deceive), but we should show respect and consideration.

8. Keep the envy away

It is natural and frequent to feel envy or jealousy for the possessions (or non-material things) of others , especially when we are small and “don’t have that”. However, it is good to transmit to the little ones that we do not all have to have the same thing and that comparing ourselves with others or envying them does not imply anything good for us, on the contrary.

It is important to convey the idea of being happy with what we have, while continuing to fight for those things we want to achieve.

9. Respond when spoken to

Another rule of coexistence for children, which also seems very logical, is the fact of responding when they speak directly to us . Many children get used to not responding when they are spoken to (especially by adults), whether out of shame, fear, laziness…

It’s good to convey the idea of responding to the things they tell us, and if we don’t want to keep talking, let the other person know too.

10. Be assertive

Being assertive or assertive implies the capacity to know how to say “no” in front of situations, questions or offers that we do not want ; intrinsically, it implies learning how to defend our tastes, interests, desires and rights. This is fundamental in order to respect oneself before others. It is not easy to achieve, since assertiveness must be worked on a lot, and there are people who find it harder to be assertive.

However, it is basic to work with children on this “rule”, so that when they are adults they have learned to say what they really think, without disrespecting anyone (or hurting anyone). It is about expressing what we want in a sincere and polite way.

11. Apologize

Another fundamental rule for living together is to ask for forgiveness when we hurt someone or when we disrespect them . Sometimes we hurt others (or simply bother them) unconsciously and unintentionally; in any case, on these occasions too, it is important to apologize.

Asking for forgiveness is a sign of empathy and respect for others, which will help us to nurture friendships.

Bibliographic references:

  • Mena, M.L. (2009). School coexistence. Enfoques Educacionales Magazine, 11(1): 55-64.

  • He noted, C. (1998). Norms for coexistence in the classroom and in the center. How to Respond to Conflicts. La disciplina en la enseñanza secundaria. Aula Library, Graó.

  • Olea, J.C. (2003). Psychology of coexistence: practical contributions. Multidisciplinary Meetings, 1-7.