How to Stop Your Kids' Tattling
Tattle Monsters LOVE to Listen!
Banging Your Head Against the Wall?
Tattling - while the stories can sometimes be funny - is SUPER annoying! If you're a teacher or a parent, I'm betting you agree with me! I am a preschool teacher AND a parent so double whammy for me. Well, my daughter isn't talking yet, but once she does, I am now prepared to deal with tattling. And I am thrilled to be able to pass on my ideas to you.
*** Note: This Hub works for both parents and early childhood teachers! ***
Making a Tattle Monster
My classroom has a Momma Tattle Monster hanging on the wall and we also made little Tattle Monsters for the kids to wear.
To find out how to make the tattle monsters and to get the FREE printable, go to my Tattling Blog Post.
Introducing the Tattle Monster
During Circle Time or at a Family Meeting, introduce the idea of the Tattle Monster.
1.) Explain what the Tattle Monster is and where she lives. Hang her on the wall in a place where they can see her. Make sure to place her at their level for ease of access when they need to tattle.
2.) Tell them that there are exceptions! In certain situations, they MUST tell YOU. Make sure to give specific examples like: if someone really hurt you, if someone hit you, if someone really hurt your feelings (<-- I think that's an important one), if someone is bleeding, etc. (Can you think of any others that I should include?)
3.) Let them come up with tattles they would tell their tattle monsters.
4.) MAKE IT FUN! If it's fun for them, they will be encouraged to use the tattle monsters.
5.) Go over the Procedure. This is extremely important. Tell them exactly how they are supposed to tattle to the monster and when it is acceptable to do so (in my classroom, always). Be specific and repeat yourself. Then have your kids repeat it back to you.
Here's Our Procedure:
- Walk up to the Tattle Monster (or tell your personal tattle monster) and whisper your tattle.
- Go back to the person who did the offense to you and say "I don't like it when you ____" or "Please give me back my ______" etc.
- If there's still a problem, then you may come tell me.
You might think that this just adds two steps before they ultimately still tattle to you, but you'd be surprised. They almost never come to me after telling their monster and the offending friend.
The other preschool teacher assures her kids that the tattle monster tells her all the tattles so that's another good way to encourage them.
6.) Have them role play and practice with the tattle monster(s). They love this. :)
***NOTE*** For their personal tattle monsters, leave them all up on the cord and tell the kids that they must stay there until they have a tattle. At which point, they may go retrieve their tattle monster and pin it to their shirt. This has been working very nicely. I have a couple of kids who don't like wearing the tattle monster so I am able to tell them that if they don't want to wear it, they shouldn't tattle. Win-win!
Encourage them to USE their Tattle Monsters
In order for this to catch on, you have to be consistant and give them lots of encouragement. At the beginning of each of the first few days, remind them about their tattle monsters and ask them to explain to everyone how it works. If desired, do more role-playing.
In the first week or two, whenever you catch someone using the tattle monster, give them lots of praise. This will make them want to use the tattle monsters!
Telling Parents About the Tattle Monsters
Parents will inevitably find out about the little Tattle Monsters because the kids love them and they will definitely see their child wearing it one day when they come pick up. You can either explain what you're doing to all the parents or send home a note.
Give the parents a list of examples of the ridiculous tattles you hear all day so they understand why you no longer want to listen to all of them. Make sure you let them know that you've talked to the kids about when they need to come directly to you. Parents need to know that if there is a real / serious situation, you are going to handle it - not the tattle monster!
As always, I highly recommend keeping open the lines of communication with all parents.