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HomeHealth & BehaviorBehavior & Discipline

Words that teach kids how to play nicely

Learning how to play well means knowing the right words to say.

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By Leslie Crawford

Kids aren’t born knowing how to play well with other kids. When they feel left out, are bullied, or when a friend or sibling tattles on them or takes something from them, they might yell, hit, kick, or run in fear.

To help your child learn to play well with others, you can help teach “social skills” with some easy-to-remember phrases that make playing more fun and fair:

“Tell not yell.”
“Be mad, but not mean.”
“Be helpful, not hateful.”

Teach your child, too, to use “playing fair” words instead of “blame and shame” words. Learning to use these words can help children control difficult emotions like being mad, sad, or frustrated:

 

Blame and shame words

Playing fair words

Liar! I heard you say something different before.
You cheated! I don’t think that’s how this game is played. The rule is . . .
You're a tattle tale! I wish you would tell me first when you don’t like something I did.
Move over! I don’t have enough room. Could you move?
You’re not the boss of me! I don’t like it when you give me orders.
You’re not my friend anymore! I don’t like what you said about me to Alicia. I’m mad at you.
You’re so mean! Stop teasing me. I don’t like it.

 

is a senior editor at GreatSchools.

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