Thursday, July 12, 2012

HAPPY Choices!!!

For those of you who know me at all, you know that I dislike teaching children "good" and "bad" choices.  Why?  Good question!  We'll start this week's Primary lesson helps out with the answer to that question, because it will help you to understand better how you can get the purpose of the lesson across better to the children you teach. :)

Good and bad are relative terms.  They have too many meanings.  Bad to kids might mean something totally different than the message we're trying to convey.  And it has a really negative connotation.  I steer away from negativity when teaching children.  Okay, let me tell you a story that will illustrate exactly WHY I don't do "good" and "bad" choices anymore.

We did foster care for a year a while back.  Our last placement was 3 children ages 3 and under.  It was insane!  They had not been taught correctly as they had never had a permanent home in their lives.  So, I hunkered down and started to let the oldest one, aged 3, what choices were "good" and which ones were "bad."

Needless to say, he was making more "bad" choices than good at the beginning.  His fault?  NO.  But not acceptable.  He started to kind of catch on and I praised him each time he made a "good" choice.  But then came a set back day.  It was horrendous.  In the middle of all the craziness, he asked me with his innocent little eyes, "Mommy, why am I a bad boy?"

WOW.  Was he a "bad" boy?!  Heavens NO!  Was he making "bad" choices?  Yes.  But it wasn't registering the way I wanted it to.  And then I remembered something that I had learned at a stake conference a few years before.  Teaching our children the CONSEQUENCES of their choices instead of focusing on the choices themselves.  This is where happy and sad choices was born.

Each time my little 3 year old started to make a choice, I asked him how he would feel after he made it.  I'd say something like, "Will you be happy if you take that toy from your brother?" or "How do you think you'll feel if you don't eat your food?"  The change was unreal.  I praised him for all the HAPPY choices he made.  I made a happy/sad face for him to put on the fridge.  If he made a sad choice, he had to switch the face around.  It didn't happen that often!

I continue to use this method to this day.  It is SO SUPER EFFECTIVE!  And I've noticed this time around teaching Primary how this method has been taught throughout all the Primary lessons.  Have YOU noticed it?  They continually have us as teachers ask the kids how they'd FEEL.  Feelings are something kids can relate to!  We can ALL relate to it.  I even find myself contemplating how I'll feel before making a decision.

So, there you go!  I hope this helps you somehow.  You don't have to believe in it's effect, but if you try it, I promise you'll see a change in behavior for the positive! :)

Not, onto the lesson.  This week's lesson is Primary 2: Lesson 26: Choosing the Right Gives Me a Happy Feeling (SEE!).  With a disclaimer, "Note: Remember that children younger than eight years old are not yet accountable and do not need to repent of sin. Encourage the children to do what is right, but do not make them feel guilty for things they have done."

Here's how I'll be teaching the lesson~

*I will be using those gems that you put in vases for decorating purposes for the attention activity.

*I will be bringing some toy food to help illustrate the story of Angela.  We will use the happy/sad faces I made earlier (found in THESE lesson helps) instead of the papers from the previous lesson when talking about feelings in regards to this story and for any other times needed.

* The word strips this week will be repentance and prodigal.  2 in one week, whew!

* I will use the clip art pictures to help illustrate the story of the Prodigal Son.

*Instead of making pictures of the happy/sad face, we'll use the happy/sad sticks for this part of the lesson and I will give them a situation and have them show me what kind of a choice the child made.  The coloring page later will be a blank circle that they can make into a happy face. :)

*We most definitely will be singing the versions of "If You're Happy" for Enrichment Activity #2.

*If there is time, I will ask each child to come to the front of the room and tell about a time that they made a happy choice.  They only need to come up if they want to.  Since we've been doing a "sharing" time at the beginning of class, each child is okay with being in front of the class and speaking in front of us now! :)

 *This lesson was way too short...we ended up taking an impromptu "field trip" around the church.  I told the children that Jesus is our example about making choices.  We went around the building, looking at pictures of Jesus.  At each picture, I asked one of the children to tell me what Jesus was doing and what kind of a choice He was making.  When we got back to the room, we played the "happy/sad" game about the pictures.  I was so happy that 2 of my little guys said, "They were ALL happy choices!" as soon as we got into the room!!! :)

So, there you have it!  I hope this helps you!  For my file of helps, just click HERE!  Have a restful Sabbath, friends! :)


Heather Pusey said...

The link for the file of helps doesn't seem to be working. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful insights and lesson helps. I loved your post today.
Heather P.

Mynnette said...

Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention, Heather! It's fixed! :)

Katie Fuller said...

You are a life saver. I have recently begun teaching Primary and it is SO FAR out of my comfort zone. (I've been teaching adults for years, but kids are another story.) I just wanted to say thank you for making this a little easier for me, and for sharing your great ideas!

Shanners said...

Thank you!

Elaine/Kent said...

Thank you so much for your thoughts and insight! I look forward to seeing what ideas you have every week when I prepare my CTR 5 lessons.

The Wyler Family said...

Thank you for all your lesson helps!

Bonnie Ruesch said...

Thank you so very much for the helps! It is great to see what others are doing. This gives me a greater opportunity to teach more effectively.

Mom said...

Wonderful ideas and helps. It's been a long time since I've taught very young children. Thank you so much!