Remi asks:

How do you encourage a three year old in class to give his marker up.? When you ask him to use on parer, put it away or give it to you he runs.

Recently we reintroduced markers into other learning centers. A 3 year old has been having a great time writing on his friends, himself and everything else in his site.  When he is redirected or asked to put marker away, he runs away from the teacher, usually scribbling as he is writing.
In Topics: Preschool, Learning styles and differences, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Jul 6, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Remi and thank you for asking this question.

I liked that you used the phrase and technique of "redirection" to help get the marker from the child. I think that it is a good choice to start, but perhaps you need a little bit more assistance with our "artist" here.  Perhaps you could try a few other techniques that may be of help.

1- Make this child the "collector" or all markers and reinforce him with praise when he has collected ALL and put them in a special place. Make sure he collects them with an object that needs two hands such as a box.

2- Only allow him a set time to use the marker with supervision ( to prevent writing on others, etc.) and then substitute with an equally engaging activity ( such as water play, etc.)  Make sure the activity is something he needs to use both of his hands (even playing with play-doh)  Use verbal and nonverbal cuing to help him transition to another task. (Two minutes until we go to block building, one minute.... And you can point to your wrist to signify "TIME" and then raise your fingers for how many minutes.)

3- Give him verbal and nonverbal warnings when he attempts to write or be destructive with the marker. Making sure he apologizes each time he "offends" which will make him accountable for his behavior.  I know that at three years of age, some people may feel that he is too young to understand "apologizing", however, at this age it is important to teach small acts of responsibility, kindness and cooperation.  Learning to share and not destroy property or hurt others is important.

Good luck!

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Owner of Signing Families   ( to learn sign and non-verbal transitions)

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