Your preschoolers and toddlers are at their best behavior when they’re having fun. And the best way to start teaching your kids the basics of proper social conduct is through games they’ll enjoy playing over and over again. Try these classic games with a twist to help boost your preschooler’s best behavior. These are group games, so either you can do it with your child’s siblings or her neighborhood playmates or schoolmates.
Game 1: The Silent Squeeze
Behavioral Goal: Cooperation or Teamwork
How to Play:
Set the only places where kids can hide (say "only within our backyard" or "only inside the house, except the kitchen"). One child is “It,” and is guided by the adult as she hides.
The players then split up to search independently for the “It.” When a seeker finds the “It,” he or she joins “It” in the hiding place; and as others find the “It’s” hiding place, they crowd in silently. The silent squeeze becomes tighter—and sillier, hence, the name of the game.
When the last person finds the hiding place, the game's over, and play resumes with the last person as “It.”
Lesson learned: Everyone works toward a common goal, and will see the importance of patience and working together. It’s also a way to practice keeping quiet and still while waiting.
Game 2: Positive Story Circle
Behavioral Goal: Optimism
How to play:
Seated in a circle, begin by telling a story in which a bad thing happens (“One morning, Nate was crying because he lost his favorite toy in the playground.”).
Then ask the next child to add a positive turn of events to your negative beginning (“ The good thing was, his friend Jeremy offered to help him look around the place”). Then the next child introduces another negative event to the plot, which the next child will answer with a positive idea.
The story ends at your signal.
Lesson learned: This game helps tots develop a more positive view of life to help them deal and cope with real frustrations and problems.
Click here to see more games to boost your preschooler's behavior.