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"Good Idea, Wrong Time"- Setting Limits and Rules for Young Children

classroom management discipline kindergarten limits rules simple and deep tips teaching waiting for mister rogers Apr 28, 2023
children raising their hands

Has this ever happened to you?

During a fire drill, a child runs up to give you a friendly hug or waves to friends passing by!

"Good idea, wrong time."

This adage popped out of my mouth somewhere along the way, and I've used it ever since.

It has helped me in countless situations:

-fire drills/lockdowns

-children interrupting adult conversations

-former students shouting my name in the hallway

-blurting out a story while I'm teaching or giving directions

-making a connection during Mister Rogers Neighborhood (kindergarten "stories" never last one minute, right?)

Self-control and discipline are two essential life skills to learn during kindergarten.

Being safe is paramount for the child's physical and emotional well-being. After all, when children feel safe and secure, they can truly thrive! In intentional/ structured activities, children can learn to recognize their feelings, regulate themselves accordingly, and remain safe in various situations.

When you're met with a child's impulsive behavior or inappropriate time for an activity, saying, "Good idea, wrong time," helps them understand that something better can be done than what they were suggesting—but at a different moment. This validates their desire to connect, relate or share but reminds them you are a "wise adult" meant to keep them safe and help them grow inside.

 Whenever I discipline or instruct my class, I ask them, "What is my most important job?" And they respond, "To keep us safe."

Safety is physical and emotional: Build a fence around them

If we keep them safe, we will protect their bodies and hearts. Children aren't born with self-discipline. We are the guides a limit-setters in the classroom, lending our expertise and healthy controls whenever they need them. Children will crave boundaries and limits as it calms their nervous system.


Simple and Deep Tips (#simpleanddeeptips)

1. Clearly explain why rules or limits are necessary for safety and respect.

2. Use age-appropriate language when giving instructions.

3. Be consistent and fair in enforcing your rules or limits.

4. Model the behavior you want your children to follow, such as speaking respectfully and calmly during disagreements with them or others around them

5. Give positive reinforcement when they do adhere to the rules/limits that have been set


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