Behavior Management Strategies: Correcting a Child When They Make a Mistake


ACE (Acknowledge, Correct, Encourage)

 ACEing is a great tool from your toolbox of behavior management strategies to give a child a correction without leaving them diminished or upset. As human beings, we do not like it when another human being gives us a correction, even if that person is our superior and we know it is going to help us with our jobs and self-improvement. When we are given a correction, instantaneously we realize that we did something wrong. As one of the most important needs for a human being is to be right and to avoid being wrong, a correction puts us in a place of upset. To avoid having a child get upset, or even worse, refuse to try, we use our language to remove the negativity that exists around a correction. The first part of ACEing is acknowledge.

Acknowledge: First and foremost, set the pace for the correction by giving the child an indication that you like a particular behavior that they are displaying. This typically begins with “I like the way…”

Correct: After we acknowledge the child, we must offer the correction so that the child may choose to try the correction. Notice how I said “offer” instead of “insist”. We must give the child the opportunity to choose to try the correction so that they have freedom in making that choice. Do you like it when another adult gives you a correction and assumes that you will make the correction immediately? Neither do children. Start the correction with “if you want to make it better…” When you include the “if” then the child feels like they have a choice in making the correction and  the majority of the time will choose to make the correction to impress the teacher or parent.

Encourage: Lastly, before the child even has the opportunity to make the correction, we instantaneously give them a “high five” so that they feel successful immediately. This maintains the positive environment that we are looking to sustain. For example:

We would like a child to read a sentence and they get to a word that is troublesome. They mispronounce the word and your first instinct is to say the correct pronunciation of the word. If you were to ACE the situation it would go something like this:

“I like the way that you are sounding out the letter slowly. If you want to make it better, take a deep breath before you start a new word.” And then give them a HIGH FIVE.

I applaud your journey for continuing professional development. Now give yourself a high five for trying out a new technique.

Photo by Fivehanks

How to Stop Bullying: Bystanders Who Want to Help But Don’t Want to be Outted as a Tattletale



Last week we addressed one of three reasons why the 85% of students known as bystanders don’t take action towards helping to stop bullying. If you missed the first part about them having the fear of becoming a new victim for a bully, I invite you to take a look at How to Stop Bullying: Bystanders Afraid to Become a New Victim of a Bully. This week we look at a concern that many adults would have in addition to their children.

Let’s address this situation so that your child can have the opportunity to powerfully stand up for their friend or classmate if the situation arises. Being a tattletale or a snitch as a child or adult is frowned upon in any social environment, whether at school, home, or in the workplace, and our human bodies are designed for self preservation first.  There is a distinction that we need to clarify which solves this problem quickly and effectively. Bystanders must learn the distinction of, “In vs. Out”.” If you are walking down the street with your family and you see two bank robbers jump out of their car and run into the bank, what do you do? I hope you said you would call the police or dial 9-1-1. Because of you, the police show up and the bank robbers get arrested and go to jail. My question to you is…are you tattling on the robbers? In my Breaking the Bullying Circle School Assembly Program I ask kids this exact question. The responses are typically “No. It’s not tattling because the robbers are doing something bad.” Next question for you…Is it more important to get the bank robbers in trouble or is it more important to get the people in the bank out of trouble? When given a choice most children responded “get the people in the bank out of trouble.” What did you say?

When you are trying to get someone in trouble, like telling on someone, then you are tattling and that isn’t showing respect. And if your child’s friend, or someone they know in school, is getting bullied and they try to get them OUT of trouble, then they are being a hero. Just like you would be a hero if you called the police to help stop the bank robbers. Now remember that you and the police are a team when you work together to stop the bank robbers. If you didn’t call them, they never would have come. Give your child a few examples and having them decide whether they are tattling or being a hero. Teamwork and being a hero go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Photo by Denise Krebs