How to Turn Tattling into a Teaching Moment

How to Turn Tattling into a Teaching Moment

Classroom management techniques and teaching strategies can be difficult to master for some teachers. Many preschool teacher resource books offer information on classroom management strategies and various teaching styles, but they neglect many basic classroom procedures.

In their book, Preschool Classroom Management, experienced teachers Laverne Warner, PhD, and Sharon Anne Lynch, EdD, offer 150 “teacher-tested” ideas for managing a successful classroom. From communicating with parents to handling tattling, this resource provides both new and experienced teachers with several ways they can improve their classrooms.

Here is just one example of their wonderful advice:

Building Caring Communities

Handling Tattling

The Issue:

  • Children will tell on each other for different reasons. Regardless of their reasons for tattling, it is a source of frustration for adults.


  • To eliminate tatting, give children a response that they can use to stop another child’s negative behavior.


  • To teach children what to say when the behavior of others is bothering them.


The following are a few responses to try and teach tattlers to resolve the situation:

  • Alison came to her teacher and said, “Marty hit me.”
    • The response: “Tell Marty that you don’t like to be hit.”
  • Caitlin reported that Jeremy said the “f” word.
    • The response: “Did you tell him that his language is not appropriate in our classroom?”
  • When Larry said to his teacher,” Leeann stole my pencil,” his teacher asked, “Did you see her steal your pencil?”
    • When he responded, “yes,” his teacher told him to go to Leeann and ask her to return his pencil.
  • “Devon isn’t building the bridge right,” tattled Abby.
    • The response: “Remind him of the rules for the Block Corner,” responded his teacher.
  • “Joe used a bad word, Teacher,” Barnett exclaimed as he came in from the playground.
    • The response: “What did you say to him when he used the bad word?” “I told him that the word wasn’t a good one to use.” “Good for you!”

In each of the above examples, the teacher provided a way for the student to resolve their own problems, giving them an alternative to tattling the next time bad behavior may occur.

Keys to Effective Classroom Management:

  • Helping children become more assertive with classroom problems solves the need to tattle.

For more teaching strategies to help manage your preschool classroom, check out this helpful article!

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