Children must develop critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions. The way they learn this skill is through experiences. Parents and teachers support the young children as they practice making decisions. So what if they clothing combinations are not aesthetically pleasing to you or others? When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I always knew whose parents allowed decision making on clothing choices. They were my more independent thinkers and often my creative kiddos.
During those very young years, parents and teachers need to help more than they will later. Children love a sense of choice and control. Let them make decisions that don’t involve safety. After practicing decision making young, when faced with a bigger problem and away from parents such as a park or at school, the child will be able to use effective coping skills and have confidence when faced with a problem.
Children from a very young age can learn safety skills. They need safety skills in the home such as: when to answer the door, where to go on-line and where not to go, what information not to give out on-line. When out in public they need to understand about strangers and what to do if someone approaches them in a public restroom.
Learning to advocate for oneself can also help with safety and in social situations. Children need to be able to speak up for themselves in a scary situation as well as when on the playground and others are trying to take advantage or not play fairly. When in the classroom and group work is required, children must speak up and advocate for themselves so that all children share the group workload.
The Rooster and Fox
Readers’ theater and game
Adapted from Aesop’s Fables by K5 Counselors
Instructions: Counselor should allow students to take time to first silently read his or her part, before taking turns reading aloud. If you have students who are not yet reading, they can participate through listening.
Characters: Fox 1 – 13, Rooster 1 – 17
One bright evening as the sun was sinking on a glorious world I flew into a tree to roost.
I was considered a wise old rooster.
Before I composed myself to rest, I flapped my wings three times and crowed loudly.
Just as I was about to put my head under my wing, my beady eyes caught a flash of red and a glimpse of a long, pointed nose.
There, just below me stood Fox.
Have you heard the wonderful news?
I spoke in a very joyful and excited manner.
I was still feeling calm.
My feeling of calm quickly changed to a strange, fluttery feeling inside me.
I was very much afraid of the Fox.
Your family and mine and all other animals have agreed to forget their differences and live in peace and friendship from now on forever.
Just think of it!
I simply cannot wait to embrace you!
Do come down, dear friend, and let us celebrate the joyful event.
I certainly am delighted at the news.
But he spoke in an absent way, and stretching up on tiptoes, seemed to be looking at something afar off.
What is it you see?
I started feelings a little anxious.
Why, it looks to me like a couple of Dogs coming this way. They must have heard the good news and—
But I did not wait to hear more.
Off I started on a run.
Wait, why do you run?
The Dogs are friends of yours now!”
Yes, but they might not have heard the news.
Besides, I have a very important errand that I had almost forgotten about.
I smiled as I buried my head in my feathers and went to sleep.
I had succeeded in outwitting a very crafty enemy.
The moral of this story is: The trickster is easily tricked.
Activity: When to say no
Instructions: Read and discuss each scenario below. How can you use self-help in each case?
- Your “friend” asks you for your password to your Facebook account. What should you say?
- Your “friend” wants to borrow the $100 you are saving for summer camp because he wants to buy a video game. He says he is pay you back $20 extra in a month. What do you say?
- You get a new t-shirt for your birthday. Your “friend” wants to wear it to the party that you are not invited to on Saturday. What do you say?
- You have been waiting in line for 2 hours to see the new movie. Your “friend” wants to cut in line. What do you say?
- Your “friend” wants your pizza that is in your lunch. She wants to give you her pimento cheese. You don’t like pimento cheese. What do you say?
- It is your turn to choose the game that the group will play at recess. Your “friend” wants the group to play soccer instead. What do you say?
- You have a new I-Phone. Your “friend” wants to borrow it for the weekend. Your mom told you not to lend it to anyone. What do you say?
- Someone that you don’t know drives by as you are walking to the park. He calls to you to come over and give him directions to the school. What do you say?
- Your older sister tells you to go make lunch on the stove. You are not sure about how to use the stove. What do you say?
- You are on social media. You have met a new “friend.” He asks you to meet him at the movies Saturday night and tell anybody what you are doing. What do you say?
- You have been saving your piece of birthday cake until after supper. Your brother already ate his piece. He wants your piece of cake. What do you say?
- If you play with her or talk to her at recess, I am not going to be your “friend.” What do you say?
- I was not invited to the sleepover. I don’t want you to go either. If you go, I will not be your “friend.” What do you say?
- I forgot to do my homework again. Could I borrow yours to copy just this once? What do you say?
Pause to Ponder
How can you appropriately stand up for yourself in your daily life? Describe what that would look like.