By Michelle Howe
Do etiquette rules apply to the playground?
Children need to be prepared with appropriate
behavior guidelines before social events,
and playgrounds or other "kid territories"
provide ideal opportunities to teach kids
how to deal with bullies, get along with others
and learn valuable social skills.
1) Handling the bully
There often seems to be one child who insists
on getting his own way, unconcerned about who
gets hurts in the process. How does one tactfully
handle a playground bully?
Be kind but firm. A polite "no"
sometimes shocks a bully into submission,
as he is not accustomed to anyone standing
his ground against him.
away. Teach your child that one person's
bad manners do not have to ruin a good time.
A bully will often get bored with no opposition.
However, some bullies are bent into getting
into a fight and may follow your youngster.
your child to come to you if he's being
trailed. Be pro-active by intervening and
speaking directly to the bully, his parent,
Playing and sharing with other children
youngsters are quietly playing together.
A third child jumps in. Shrieks of frustration
are heard as the newest member grabs
everything in sight. What should you
Intervene. Step in and calmly encourage
sharing of toys. Let the spoiler know
you're close by and alert to what's
happening. Kindly state your expectations
a moment to listen. Kids cannot always
articulate their feelings when someone
has injured them, but they still feel
the injustice. Even if you cannot
"right" a situation, you
can talk, sympathize and comfort your
child privately so he knows his feelings
have been recognized.
appreciation and admiration. Communicate
to your child how much you appreciated
his response. Or, gently instruct your
child how to better respond the next
time a similar situation arises. For
example, you can explain that yelling
and screaming when frustrated accomplishes
up coupons that list one practical
way to "love" a sibling/friend.
For example, kindness = picking
up toys. Or, sharing = giving
away a cookie. Have fun decorating
and designing "love"
coupons for the whole family.
simple verses that deal with
specific problem areas your
child may exhibit, such as selfishness,
anger and impatience. Discuss
these verses on the way to the
park. On the way home, talk
about how these verses helped
your child respond in the right
time playing one-on-one with
your child. Using dolls or action
figures, role-play positive
ways to interact with others.
Have your doll speak lovingly,
share willingly, and show gratitude
Including siblings in play time with other friends
your children that playing with friends is a
revocable privilege gained by exhibiting caring
behavior in the home (and toward siblings).
Allow some playtime alone with friends.
Then "schedule in" the last half
hour for everyone (friends and family) to
play together. Understand that even little
ones enjoy some time alone with their special
siblings to model the instructions about
love provided in I Corinthians 13. Read
this section of scripture before and after
playtime. Discuss in practical terms what
it means to love others in a biblical way.
Make it simple and appeal to the heart.
For example, emphasize the importance of
saying please and thank you.
Howe is a freelance writer living
in LaSalle, Michigan with her husband and four
children. She is a book reviewer for Publishers
Weekly, CBA Marketplace, and CCM Magazine. Howe
has published over 700 articles and reviews
and is the author of eight books including,
to Nourish a Woman's Heart" and "Prayers
for Homeschool Moms" (publication date:
spring, 2003). These books can be ordered online
by clicking on the links above (via Amazon.com).