Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How can I stop a class clown from cutting up?

Ms. Dorothy,
How do I curb my 5 year old's tendency to be the class clown without crushing his spirit?  Any suggestions?
- Mom of a Kindergarten boy

If your son is any good at being a cut-up in school, he probably has some real leadership skills waiting to be refined.  The last thing anyone should be doing is crushing that spirit.

If he is charming and the teacher can't resist him, and thinks of him as clever and funny, he has the potential to be a charismatic leader.  If the teacher gets frustrated and annoyed with him, he has the potential to be a dynamic and challenging leader.  

The world needs more of both.  

Your son needs direction and guidance about how to direct this powerful energy.  He needs to know that he is a great and natural leader, and that others listen to him, laugh with him, and are drawn to him because he is rare and remarkable.  And he needs to know that "with great power comes great responsibility."  

He needs to know that he can, and should, use his power for good.

Talk to his teacher about finding appropriate outlets for him to lead the class where he can have real control.  

Get the class singing a chant, and let him orchestrate; directing one section to get louder and another to get quieter, directing the group when to stop.  Let him create a new rule for a song or game that the class already knows, and let him explain his new (probably silly) rule and lead the class in playing his way.  Have him make up new words to add to the end of a chant the class already knows.  

Ask his teacher to give him opportunities to make the class laugh when it isn't a disruption. 
Knowing that he will have the chance to exert that kind of control once in a while will be a powerful carrot for the other times when the teacher needs to be in charge.

1 comment: