Saturday, 8 April 2017

How to Deal With Tattling in the Classroom - The Gumball Machine Reward System

Children in kindergarten often tattle on others to their teachers. Most children this age have the bad habit of telling adults what others are doing wrong.

Whether it is to tell us that a child is not wearing his slippers because he “forgot”, or that some kids are not cleaning up when they should, it happens every single day. We have, of course, encouraged them to talk to the children in those situations, rather than tattle. We’ve explained that at the end of the day we have the feeling that a lot of unpleasant things have happened if we only hear about those.

We had a talk about the difference between tattling and telling. Our main rule is that they should talk to one another when everybody is safe and if it’s something that they don’t need help solving. Of course, if somebody is harmed or in danger, they should come and tell us right away.

We talked about paying more attention to the positive things that others do, paying compliments (and not compliments about clothing or new toys they have). My colleague and I always praise the children for doing nice things, like sharing, not giving up, being eager to help others, and that’s what we expect from our children, too.

And now…our gumball machine reward system!

N. bought this cute gumball machine from the Flying Tiger of Copenhagen store (it’s in all Nordic countries). If you can’t find one, you can use a jar or a transparent container. We chose some activities that our children enjoy as rewards: gym, movie, theme party, baking. Every time children pay compliments (genuine ones!) and are kind to the others, a wooden bead goes into the gumball machine. When they are mean or tattle, we take a bead away. Once they receive a reward, we peel the label off. The children have already started paying more attention to other kids’ feelings. :)

Do you have any suggestions on handling tattling?

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