I have been finding myself stating the problem at hand in a very matter-of-fact (yet positive tone!) way with the children. For instance, if two boys are crashing cars in blocks, I say, “Gentleman, you’re crashing the blocks.” Usually they answer with, “Sorry”. and it stops.
When children yell at me (which is often, because they are so excited!), I say, “Wow, you’re yelling at me.” They turn their voices down.
Say it clearly, say it calmly. “Fontal lobe!”
There is a way to say ‘no’ to a child in a positive way. For instance, if a child often asks to go to the bathroom at the beginning of clean-up time (to get out of helping), answer, “Yes, I can take you as soon as the room is picked up.” Isn’t that much kinder than, “No. It’s clean up time now”?
Another example: If a child is yelling inside, instead of just saying “No yelling”, try “That’s a yelling voice – we can yell outside, not in here.”
YOU set the tone.
I wanted to be the kind of teacher who never yelled, because if you yell all the time, your yell is not effective. I raise my voice about twice a year, and the children are majorly freaked out by it. When I speak to the children, it’s with my regular voice, not a sing-song fake voice. (You know the voice I mean.) I smile when I talk to them, I try to say everything in the most positive way, and I make sure they know that I am interested in what they are saying.
When I need to discipline, there are a few stages my voice goes through. First ‘reminder’ – positive. Second ‘reminder’ – positive words, but with less of a ‘smile in my voice’. Third ‘reminder’ – a lower, firmer voice, but not mean or abrupt. It’s the ‘I mean business’ voice.
Think about how you’ll use your voice in the room.