Rules. We need them because the world would be chaos without them. But, sometimes there are just too many of them. Often teachers will create too many rules and kids just can’t remember them all. If we keep our expectations simple, children are able to be much more successful.
Rule #1- Take care of your friends
Pretty easy right? Except when your friend takes your Lego car your worked hard to make. Then you hit your friend. This is where rule #1 comes in. In this situation, neither child was “taking care of your friends”. When the teacher reminds the children of the rules, she will talk about how the first child wasn’t caring for their friend by taking the toy. She will also remind the other child that hitting friends is not taking care of them either.
In order for children to understand what “taking care” is, the teacher will help the children talk about what IS taking care of your friends. In this situation, the teacher may guide the children to understand that the child that took the car could ask the friend to help them build a car or ask to play with the car when the friend was done. The other child will be given solutions as well. They could have come to the teacher or could have talked to the friend and let them know they did not like that they took their car and ask for it back.
Rule #2- Take care of our things
In a classroom, all materials are community property. This is particularly tough in a toddler classroom, where what’s mine is mine, what’s your is mine and what I might want later is mine.
When a child uses something inappropriately (throws a toy, standing on a basket or breaking something) this rule comes into play. Teachers use this rule to help children understand that we need to take care of our belongings. If a child is throwing a toy, the teacher will explain that this could hurt someone or break something. She will also remind the child that we CAN throw balls or frisbees outside. If a child is standing on a basket, the teacher will remind the child that our feet belong on the floor and they could fall and get hurt. She will also remind them that they could break the basket by standing on it.
Remember to help children understand what they CAN do and why what they are doing is not correct.
Rule #3- Take care of Yourself
This is an important rule for those adventurous preschoolers. While it is great that kids learn through trial and error, sometime that error is unsafe. Safety is a priority for us in the classrooms. Children don’t have foresight, so often will put themselves in unsafe situations.
If a child is climbing on a shelf to get something up high, a teacher will use this rule. She will remind the child that we can climb outside on the playground. She will also remind the child that if they fell, they would get hurt. She will guide them to a different solution, such as asking a teacher for help.
Try using these three rules for your children. It should help them understand expectations and make discipline easier.