An I-message tells a child how you feel about their behavior in a respectful manner.
Statements include four parts:
- The child’s behavior
- Your feelings about the behavior
- The effects of the behavior
- What they need to do instead.
When speaking to children about their behavior it is important to use I-Messages. This provides the child with a clear understanding of the inappropriate behavior, your feelings about the behavior, the effects of the behavior, and what you need them to do instead.
- When you are fooling around and distracting the group I feel frustrated because that means all the other children have to wait for you to get started on the activity. I really need you to stay on task and not distract others when I am trying to start an activity.
- It scares me when I see you throwing sand because it can get into other children’s eyes and hurt them.
- I am feeling upset that you are getting up from your mat because it is quiet time and some children are trying to sleep.
- When you knock down Billy’s tower, it makes me sad because he worked really hard to build it.
Want to learn more about I-messages and other behavior management strategies? Check out the following courses at H&H Child Care Training Center.