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Do you have students who get upset when it isn’t their turn – or have trouble when they don’t get their way? It can be frustrating to experience, especially when it’s in the middle of a great activity you have planned. And it can even be downright exhausting! But, knowing what to do in these situations can definitely make your day easier and also help your students learn important lifelong lessons about patience. Check out these must-try teacher tips for when kids pout!
*For more tips on creating a positive AND playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
Must-Try Teacher Tips for When Kids Pout
Picture it (I know you can!). You have a really fun lesson planned during Circle Time and everything seems to be going well. Then one of your kids starts pouting because they didn’t get two turns in a row (even though no one else did, either). In reality, there are going to be many times in our classrooms when students may not get a turn or get their way.
Sometimes this means they will cry, pout, or perhaps have a tantrum. It’s really easy to get frustrated by this behavior. But taking a step back and realizing this behavior is entirely normal in early childhood can make it more manageable. And there are things we can do to help!
Let them know that you understand
It’s part of our work in early childhood to help students learn to navigate their feelings appropriately (especially disappointment!). Instead of saying, “No-Stop.”etc., you can try saying “I see you’re mad and sad about this. That happens when we are disappointed.”
Helping children learn to identify and express their feelings can reduce pouting and other troubling behavior.
Then remind them quickly and firmly of the procedure, “Your turn happens when…”
Teach alternatives to pouting
Research has shown us that young children lack the vocabulary to express their emotions. And they may not even fully understand the feelings they are feeling. Taking the time to teach your class phrases or alternatives that they can say with you when they are upset can lessen the chances you’ll have to deal with pouting from your students.
One phrase that I love teaching my students early on is, “I’m disappointed but I’m okay.”
RELATED RESOURCE: Social-Emotional Pocket Chart Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten
Remember that your students may not yet understand words like “disappointed”, so this is also our chance to model what feeling disappointed can look like. Make sure that you do not over-engage, or over-explain. To keep it simple, you can state the procedure once, offer the support needed (or a break), and then move on to the routine that’s already in process.
You can also add in mini lessons to Circle Time that focus on feelings and making good choices. Use these mini lessons to model the language, feelings, and actions that you want your students to use. In role-playing the mini lesson, you model, “I’m sad I didn’t get my turn! I want to stomp my feet and yell! What could I say and do instead?”
Remember our students do not know these things unless we explicitly teach them and provide the experiences for them to grow in this area. You’ve got this!
Want to stress less with even more “must-try” tips while learning how to create a “Playful Learning” environment?
(even if you “aren’t allowed to play”)
If you’re wanting to incorporate playful learning, free-flowing centers, effective routines, and more in your Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom, then you’ll definitely want to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
This course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom. Be sure to request an invitation so you’re the first to hear when the virtual doors open!
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