“Push on the cap until you hear a *snap*!”

This is one of the standard ‘scripts’ that I use with children when we’re working on behavior/rules/procedures. 

This is one of the first things we learn at preschool, since setting out markers and blank paper is an instant hit – especially when they are brand-new markers full of luscious color!  We learn this little saying in the big group, and I demonstrate it, asking them to be very quiet to hear if it’s really snapping.  Then I show them a dried-out marker and explain that that’s what happens when the caps fall off.  It’s wonderful how they come up to me throughout the day and say, “Listen!” -then demonstrate the snap.

“Do your best.”

This is one of the standard ‘scripts’ that I use with children when we’re working on behavior/rules/procedures. 

Really, isn’t that all you can ask of anyone? To expect each child to be perfect is unrealistic, and the recipe for an ulcer. Young children are YOUNG, and life is just practice for the next step. These three words can help them know that you aren’t looking for the work of an adult, or even a bigger child -just the best they can do. So often they are proud to show you their best – their best name writing, their best cut-out circle, their best ‘putting-on-my-coat’. Our job is to be nothing but encouraging when they have done their work. “Great job! That was really hard, and you did your best! I’m so proud of you.”

“If someone asks if they can play, the answer is always ‘Yes’.”

A few years ago I heard a story on the radio about a kindergarten teacher who was honored for creating a bully-free environment, and one of the tools she used was ‘if someone wants to play, you can’t say no’.

Personally I was a little steamed, because we’d been saying that – and phrased in the positive way, no less – and I never saw a dime! Just kidding. Really, this will help SO much. Preschoolers are at an awkward stage – it’s the time when they learn that just because Friend A is playing with Friend B, they haven’t stopped being your friend. Many of them won’t understand that before they leave your class, but this is one tool that helps them interact.

“Please stop.”

This is one of the standard ‘scripts’ that I use with children when we’re working on behavior/rules/procedures.

This is posted in Classroom Management, but all the posts under Scripts are directly related to this.

The first day of school, and every day thereafter, I tell the children that if someone is doing something they don’t like, say “Please stop”.  I also tell them that if someone asks them to please stop _________, they should stop.

There is magic in those words, because it gives the child the power to take care of a situation.  As the year goes on, when a child comes to tell me what ________ did, I ask “Did you like that?”  “No.”  “What can you say?”  (Child turns around to the offender) – “Please stop”.  And 90% of the time that’s all it takes!  I don’t have to solve it for them – they take care of it. 

“That’s not food.”

This is one of the standard ‘scripts’ that I use with children when we’re working on behavior/rules/procedures.

*sigh* One of the dreadful realities of the preschool world is that children chew on their fingers, suck on their clothing, and yes – eat their boogers.  One of our most important goals is to help them learn what is alright to put in their mouths.  But keep in mind that they will not master this after hearing it once, or ten times, or a thousand times.  It is helping them to break bad habits, and it will take a long time.  Be patient, be kind, and wash your hands all the time.

We often talk about how only two things go in your mouth – food and toothbrushes.  (Of course they have to say “What about juice?”  “That’s a kind of food.”  “Well, what about toothpaste?”  “That’s something that goes on your toothbrush.”  “Well, what about milk?”  “That’s like juice – it’s a food.”  I really ought to tune up our little saying, but it works for me.)

Anyway, the long and short of it is:  when we see a child putting something in their mouth, we say, “That’s not food.” and then ask for the appropriate alternative – please take your sleeve out of your mouth/ please get a tissue/ please go wash your hands.