Teaching Children About Stealing w/free Printable

When the time comes for you to teach your child about stealing it often sneaks up on you. This was the case quite recently for me when I had to deal with my son stealing. I was caught off guard but handled the situation to the best of my ability and then got to work on a unit to teach the children about stealing and why stealing is a bad thing.

I find joy in sharing how to teach tough lessons and my teaching children about honesty unit has helped thousands of families since originally published on my old site Upside Down Kids. I hope you as a parent find this unit just as helpful.

Need help teaching your child why they should not steal? This can help! - teaching kids about stealing

When your child starts stealing

When your child starts stealing it is our job to handle the situation quickly before a habit develops.

Bible verses on stealing

He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. ~Proverbs 29:24

Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. ~ Proverbs 6:30-31


What is stealing?

For young children, this is a concept they have trouble connecting with. Talking about stealing with your children needs concrete examples they can understand.  

While discussing stealing with your child have them put their favorite toy in their lap. Now snatch the toy away. Ask your child how they would feel if you took it and never gave it back.

(Que fit) After your child reacts, and calms down, talk to your child about how others feel when someone steals from them. Nothing like feeling the emotions them self to connect to the truth.

Video Connections About Stealing

VeggieTales: Riding Good and His not so Merry Men

Stealing Video Clips

Teaching children about stealing with books

A children’s book about stealing (Help me be good)

Ricky Sticky Fingers

Stealing (God, I Need to Talk to You About…)

Talk about stealing in everyday life.

Ask your child these questions to get the conversation started.

If you found a wallet on the road would keeping it be stealing?

What do you think happens when you steal from a store?

At the store discuss how we pay for things while in line at the store.

Free printable to teach children not to steal.

Grab this free Christian based printable on stealing to help your children understand it is wrong.


What to do When Your Child Steals

On the way back to the store we walked and talked a bit. We discussed:

  • His actions and what he was thinking.
  • H stealing hurts people and how he would feel if someone stole from him.
  • How God feels about stealing.
  • And how he made mommy and daddy feel when he stole.

When we arrived at the customer service desk I handed him the black box and told him to give it back.  Through tears of embarrassment, my little man handed the lady the little black box.

He politely apologized for his actions and promised he would not do it again. The women did just as I hoped and smiled down at him. She asked him to promise never to do it again and sent him on his way.

We left the store with his tears cried out and the three of us sat talking together in front of the store and waited for my husband to grab us after checking out at the grocery store.

Why did my child steal?

This varies by the age of your child. In our case my son is only 4 and he did it because he truly did not know better. You see in our home everything is pretty much community property.

Everything the children are not allowed to touch or play with is up out of reach and the children are required to share toys and such.  This was a lesson that had to happen outside of the home and I hope it is a lesson he remembers.

For older children, many factors come into play peer pressure, self-control issues, and even purposeful acting out. For older children you may have to add more to your punishment as talking it out and returning the item is not enough for a child that knew right from wrong before he acted out.

Give a little bit of Grace.

When situations like this arise we find ourselves forced to look at the situation from another point of view. For a moment stop and think. What to do When Your Child Steals? What would The Lord do in this place?

The answer? Well if I am to be so bold as to say how God would handle this I must say… He would give a little Grace and forgiveness. We all make mistakes. We all sin. and your child is no different so give a little grace in this situation.


Simple At Home - Making Life Simple Again

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Stacey says:

    This is so hard! My daughter has been caught several times stealing candy from her siblings. We have talked to her, written out verses with her, asked her to use her own money to buy candy to replace what she stole, etc. And yet, she stole from my purse a couple days ago. It’s an issue of self control. I don’t know where to take it from here. We have talked about Jesus giving her victory over her impulses. We have talked about temptation. Nothing seems to help.

    • Jenn Gerlach says:

      When it hits this point it is often driven by other issues. I recommend you speak to your child’s dr for a referral to a pediatric mental health professional that can help her move past this compulsive behavior

  • Nancy says:

    I love this teaching. It has helped in my lesson plan. Thanks so very much.