Playing to Learn in First Grade
Chase, House, And Tattling. Welcome to First Grade.
What You Need To Know
Parents know how their child behaves at home, because they can see the child. They know how the child behaves in class, because the teachers tells them. But what happens in recess, or in the hallway outside class, or in the gym? Children’s social activities fall into three types of interaction. First up are chasing games, often boys versus girls. Then there are role-playing games, such as House. Then there’s tattling. Any parent will multiple children already knows this one all too well. “Mommy! Sam took my spoon.” “Sam took my bunny.” You get the picture.
How You Can Help
‘Telling’ on classmates is generally considered one of the last resorts for children, which is why most grow out of the tattling habit within a year or two. The traditional response for parents is not to fuss too much. If the accused child is punished harshly, this theory suggests, tattling becomes a weapon.
Children tattle because they believe another child has broken the rules. First graders are remarkably sensitive over what they are and aren’t allowed to do. Even small infractions may upset their sense of how the world works. Traditionally, restoring a routine will bring balance to a child. But if a child tattles continually, it may be time to look for another solution. Sometimes, tattling can be a symptom of anxiety elsewhere, for example a stressful home life.
Children rarely ‘tell’ the first time, argues Po Bronson in Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children. So by the time they tell you about the stolen bunny, this may be the sixth or seventh infraction they’ve suffered. Parents should pay closer attention to the interaction and make it clear to the child that they recognize the situation.
For most children, though, tattling dries up in Second Grade. Tattling is all part of the move from kindergarten to elementary school. Once they work out the rules and routines, they feel more comfortable and less likely to point the finger at others.
For more information on your first grader’s social life, please see the full article:
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