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Children constantly telling tales!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by yoitsjo, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Hi, I have posted this on the behaviour forum but thought I would post it here also in case anybody on here can help me...I hope that's OK!
    I was wondering if anybody could help me with an effective strategy to deal with children who are constantly telling tales on eachother. My class last year were not like this, but this class are constantly putting their hand up to say "so and so pulled a face at me", "so and so called me this", "so and so pushed past me". They are Year 1.
    It is not a major behavioural issue (they do not do it during lesson times very much, more when they are coming in from playtime, lining up, at snack time etc) but it is really driving me insane!
    So far, I have tried explaining to them that I am the teacher and will see if someone is doing something they shouldn't and that they should only come and tell me if they are hurt or if it is important...but I guess they do see it as important! I have also tried asking "is this going to be a tale?" They either realise and walk off or say "yes, but!"
    I was thinking maybe a circle time activity might help. Has anybody got any stories or ideas that might help me? Maybe one about someone who can't do their job because they are constantly interrupted...?
    I keep feeling like I just want to shout "I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!" so am hoping I can combat this issue before it gets to that point! Mind you, it might just feel so bad because I have had so much on this week so am feeling a little short tempered anyway!
    Thanks for reading, I hope somebody can help me!
  2. In that case, I'd allow them zero tales per day.
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Give them a list of [broadly] legitimate reasons for telling a tale. Establish exactly what is meant by 'telling tales.' Some children think that ity's not telling a tale if the tale is true. Ask them why they have told a tale.
    Be unsmiling with anyone who tells a tale with a smile on their face.
  4. Why not have a friendship box where children are rewarded for saying nice things about about each other, do something kind at playtime etc.
    I have several who love telling tells and they are also they ones who are the worst behaved and most nasty to each other.
    For the persistant ones who keep putting their hands up I say:
    Are you hurt ?
    Are you feeling unwell ?
    Is someone else hurt
    Then tell me in 10 minutes. This works too !
  5. Jen26

    Jen26 New commenter

    Hi Everyone.
    This is an interesting thread, which made me smile in recognition of many sayings I have used before and things the children come out with. It affects so many teachers and I think its so important to establish the difference between telling tales and telling an adult something important very early on so as not to create confusion. More often than not, you have at least one quiet, sensitive child in the class who "doesn't want to cause problems" and generally doesn't speak up in class. If they keep quiet about something they shouldn't, the consequences can be very distressing for them. I'm sure you all know this anyway, I was just re-emphasising it.
    I'm sure I've had the breathing one before, although I can't recall exactly when!! I like the idea of asking the child if they are doing the right thing and then praising them, reminding them that they shouldn't worry about anything else. I have used it before but I might not use it as often as I could so will try that one again next time. : )
    Enjoy the last weeks of term, everyone and have a nice Christmas : )
  6. I will often ask the child who is telling me something if they have told the other child that they don't like what they're doing and to stop it. I try to encourage them to take control and be assertive. With the shy, quiet ones I get them to practise saying "please don't do that, it's upsetting me" or something like that.
  7. My first question is always - and what did you do about it? A circle time to discuss how they can deal with these issues without involving an adult (obviously except for serious issues) would be a good start.
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    I have a Year 1 class and this was a real problem for me in September
    (you just get your class working the way you like and then they leave you for
    Year 2...). I always try to make time to deal with these types of problems
    as they come up. If you can't crack this one it can have a real impact on
    learning in the classroom (IMO).

    I realised most of the 'problems' were born out of a lack of
    communication between the children. We all now practise a confident voice
    saying “No! I don't like that!”, reinforced with a simple hand signal(STOP).
    We all have a go at saying it and do it again and again until we can be really
    serious about it. (Might be worth reading The Boy Who Cried Wolf story at this time!).

    Now whenever a child has a problem with another child, my first questions
    are, “did you tell the other person you didn't like it, did you try to solve
    your own problem before finding a adult?”.
    You will be amazed by how many children say no.

    If we can get the children talking to each other in a confident assertive
    way, we are starting to equip these children with the vital problem solving (and
    people skills) that are vital for a happy life. It also means we only have to help the
    children ‘deal’ with the more important problems.

    Oh and my favourite line with the children at the moment is “I’m not a
    doctor you know, I’m a teacher”… Usually
    in response to “my finger hurts” or “my
    eyebrow hair feels funny” etc…

    Best of luck... [​IMG]
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    There's a big difference between telling a teacher that a child is doing something hurtful/dangerous/dishonest/etc and telling a tale for the fun of seeing somebody else in trouble.
  10. Hi,
    I like the peg string idea! Think I'll give that a try.
    I constantly tell my class when they start whinging and whining, 'I don't want to hear a sentence that starts with somebody elses name' that works pretty good.
    I've also tried sitting them together 'in their own' time to sort the problem out. They usually do it surprisingly quickly!
  11. Although I don't know how well this would work with KS1 children, try telling the children that you're really interested in any complaints they have about each other and would love to help, but unfortunately the only time you have free is after the bell at the end of the day. Ask them to form an orderly queue at 3:15 or whatever time you finish. Most of them will have forgotten by then, and the rest will prefer to go home! Works well to stop time wasters or wingers in KS2.
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I do think you have to tell them the difference between reporting something significant and grassing up ['miss, so-and-so's got football cards'] at some point.
  13. I ask the child that is about to complain about another child whether that child is hurting them or is stopping thier learning, if not then then I don't want to know.
  14. Hi
    I'm recently qualified and encountered this same problem during my first week of supply. I asked a teacher in the school for some advise and she said this,
    Each time a child comes to tell a tale, tell them we will talk about it at playtime. At first, you and they will lose your break but eventually, the children will realise that it's not worth losing a playtime over!
    Sounded like good advice to me!

  15. Sounds like my "Is someone dying or seriously injured? Then please can it wait until I'm finished..."
    giggle. xx
  16. Hi Yoistsjo
    Yes this is a common one!
    I find that getting in first with a strategy before the complaints is a good one. So tell your class that you will all be working on 'getting on together' best done in a circle time/ class circle they know is a regular occurance. Set the ground rules of getting on that obviously includes being kind to each other ie not pulling faces and use all the complaints you get as an example of unkind behaviour. Allow them to say what is unkind without names (they get all there complaints out and heard by you in a controlled way) then make clear they all understand this is not kind and you will be not happy if this is happening and say why, it makes you feel sad etc. They will all agree. It may take some time at the start but it will set the tone.
    Tell them that you will be looking hard for this not happening and praise them in abundance when you see this, go crazy here and they will get the message that this is what you want. Year 1 kids will want to please you to no end and will not want to tell you about it not happening. Tell them that if you do hear about this happening then you will be dealing with it immediately and it will not be good and then do that, after a few complaints and they see you jumping on it, it will fizzle out. They wont want you to be making a serious face and they will all want to her your praise.
    This is about attention, you have up to 30 independent kids all wanting your attention and if they get it for good reasons then they will try to keep it this way. You can't praise kids enough and I have found this equals out the negative attention. By the way when you do deal with a complaint about a face ETC, deal with that kid by giving them time out and NO ATTENTION. When the time out is over ( minutes relating to how old they are so 5 mins if they are 5yrs) and be very clear this is what will happen, get them back to their activity without any discussion about their behaviour, Just say time out over now carry on with your work and walk away to a child who is behaving well and say in a loud voice 'well done....you have been behaving really well/completing that puzzle etc and I am pleased about that. The time out kid will want that really soon. When they manage to do that then praise them.
    Hope this helps
    It has worked for me for a long time, give it a go, good luck and let me know if you have success.

  17. Greetings from Canada!
    Like anything else, I think you have to teach it as a lesson. I make a T chart with the kids about tale telling (we call it tattling) versus reporting. The big difference being, trying to get someone in trouble versus trying to get help for someone. Because kids do need to know when they should be stepping in or getting help for someone, especially with all the bullying that happens. Write down examples of each and post it in the classroom so they can refer to it. When they come to you, ask them if they checked the chart and if they are needing to report something. If so then let them tell. If it is true reporting then it is usually something that needs to be handled right away. If it's a issue that can wait, have them record it on a sticky note or something and post it in the class meeting agenda for discussion (some teachers have a class meeting at the beginning and end of day, or at least once a week). If it is just petty tattling, then refer them back to the chart.
    Something that works too, (and good for younger kids) is the BUG and a WISH. Teach them how to respond to problems with a bug and a wish, and if that doesn't work, then you can get help from a grownup. "It bugs me when you push in the line, I wish you would go to the end of the line when you're supposed to." Students who do not respect someone's bug and wish get consequences, and students to forget to try the bug and wish get sent back to do so. It is working so far with my 4 year old twins, though it takes a lot of modeling. Something else I do about tattling/being bossy is teach them that it's okay to REMIND someone about something, but then it's the other person's job to follow through. So Sam can say to Suzie, "Don't forget to pick up that last block" instead of "Suzie didn't pick up all the blocks!" And you are only allowed to remind once and then you leave the person alone or maybe you have a report to make.
    Sometimes when someone's tattling I'll say "Hmmm, sounds like you have a problem there. How are you going to handle it?" And when they tell you that they'll try and talk to the other person about it, you can praise them for coming up with a great solution! Then hopefully eventually they'll do it without coming to you first.
    These all take A LOT of modeling..but if you put in the work in the first month or so of school that this is how things are to be handled, and continue to follow through, then the kids do learn and eventually they'll start policing each other. I've seen it happen in my classes and it is soooo nice to be able to congrats yourself on teaching 25 kids social skills!
    Keep up the effort everyone!
  18. I use the question - are you helping a friend or dobbing? which puts the onus on the child to decide whether they are telling tales or genuinely helping someone - it only takes a few times for them to decide they can sort out the problem by themselves
  19. If you are only in it for the money and the holidays I would sugest you do get out.
    These issues are important to the children.If they can't trust you to show them how to deal with these minor issues they won't confide bigger ones. Golden time is perfect to discuss adequate behaviour as a whole class especially if the class doesn't gel. I like the pegs idea.

  20. What a fantastic idea!! I am a supply teacher who works regularly in one school where children are always telling tales. I will use this idea next time I'm in. It will need to be slightly adapted as i don't have the run of a classroom. I think I will ask the children to write their names on the board instead of the pegs, but the principle will be the same. Thanks [​IMG]

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