Tattling

Tattling

            Children tattle on each other when they are used to an environment in which children are punished for misbehaviors. The first step in reducing tattling is to create an environment in which children feel psychologically safe. This means it’s clear that they won’t be humiliated, put down, or embarrassed – especially by the teacher. Once you’ve created this environment, children will realize there’s no point in tattling. But children will often enter your classroom without this understanding and may have come from a very punitive environment. In that case, there are some steps that will help you turn things around.
            First, think hard about why the child is tattling and what they get out of it. Usually it is adult interaction and attention. So instead of giving much attention to this, be sure that you are spending some concerted effort on building a relationship with the child or children who are tattling. Give them your attention in positive ways – talk about their weekend, what they like to do, what their favorite foods are. Sit down and read to them one on one, or work with them side by side on an art project or writing assignment. Children who tattle can be annoying and it’s somewhat natural to want to avoid them. Resist this urge! Instead give the child plenty of attention in ways that promote positive interactions when he or she is NOT tattling.
            In order to avoid giving the tattling itself much attention, you can encourage the child to write down the complaint on a clipboard that is reserved for topics to discuss at class meetings (especially if it is a legitimate complaint), rather than discuss it with you right then. If there is a lot of tattling over minor things, you could have the child write it down on a note to give you later, or to tell it to the class puppet or a stuffed animal. If the tattling continues for more than a week or two, however, you need to assess how well you are building a positive community in your classroom. Check how often you say positive things to the children (compared to negative things such as reminding them not to do something) and think about spending more time teaching pro-social behaviors. For example, you could ask a child who typically tattles to be the “Kindness Detective” for the day and help you notice nice things that children are doing. And each time the child tells you about that nice thing, you can provide positive feedback for both the “tattler” and the child caught doing something nice. Remember the overall principal that what you pay attention to you will get more of! This strategy helps you pay attention to the nice things children are doing.
      Finally, be sure that you have taught the children what an emergency situation is and when they should report to you unsafe behavior, even if it would be interrupting you.
Tattling Strategies
·       Focus on creating a positive environment in which children are not punished
·      Reduce the amount of attention you give to the tattler
·      Provide more positive attention and relationship building to the tattler
·      Ask child to write down complaint for a class meeting (if important)
·      Ask child to tell it to a class stuffed animal or write in on a note for you (if trivial) 
·      Appoint the “tattler” as the Kindness Detective for the day to focus on positive behaviors
·      Teach children what an emergency situation is and what unsafe behavior they should report to you

Comments

comments