Are you looking for some activities to address behavior and social skills for your child, student, or entire class?
Whether you are a parent, teacher, or counselor, you likely want to support your child or students with activities to address any gaps in social skills or behavior through engaging activities that will actually work. Just telling kids to “respect your teacher” is really not going to be enough for many kids. Children with behavioral concerns that include defiance, aggression, and poor social skills particularly will benefit from learning about giving others respect (for teachers & peers) and manners. They need instruction and practice, however, in order to know what to do.
Much like learning academic subjects, children require a multi-modal approach to learning most social, emotional, and behavioral topics. Because they are kids, they also need it to feel fun. Social-Emotional Learning topics need to not feel like punishment when learning them. If presented in a fun and interactive way, they will be able to learn about these topics with a much more open mind and attitude. This will, hopefully, help them to improve their ability to implement what they have learned in the classroom or playground.
Types of Activities to Address Manners and Respect
In my counseling practice as a school psychologist, there are a few different types of activities that I will use to address teaching students Manners and Respect. The first is Videos. This is because videos can be fun, easy, age-appropriate, and targeted when you are able to find the right one. Videos are also a good tool because they can be used individually or with a group as large as an entire classroom.
Here are some of the videos that I regularly use with students to help them learn about Manners and Respect:
I have a few games that I use when teaching students Manners and/or Respect. Games are very interactive, but really provide amazing practice and can facilitate discussions about behavior when played with a counselor, parent, or teacher. Most of my students look forward to coming to their counseling sessions because they enjoy playing the different counseling games with their peers.
General Tips for Playing Counseling Games
When doing a game activity, it is best to have 2- 5 players. That way, there are more opportunities for peer modeling and discussion than when playing games indivually. Kids learn social skills best from other kids, right? When playing games, use questions and prompts to facilitate discussions of past behaviors or incidents that you are aware of. This is where your training as a counselor will come in. Discussion, practice of skills, and modeling is really the key to success with any social-emotional learning.
Here are a few games that I made and use with my own counseling students that address Manners and Respect:
(Click on Picture for link to products or HERE for link to see all Games in my store!)
Worksheets can be a good tool if they are appropriate for the developmental level of the student. For example, I use worksheets with mostly coloring or drawing for Kindergarten through 3rd graders. For example, in one of the worksheets below, I will have students color the different examples of giving others respect. In another worksheet related to learning calming strategies, I will have the students draw a self-portrait of themselves using a calming strategy.
Here are some examples of worksheets that I use for younger students. (Click on pictures for link to purchase for your counseling):
For students that are older, I am able to do worksheet activities that might require some writing for 3rd through 8th graders. In the examples below, the students are asked to complete the sentences about how to give different people in their lives respect. When doing worksheets for counseling, don’t forget to use the worksheet prompts to engage in meaningful discussion, as conversation is at the heart of all good counseling that will lead to positive changes.
Just a side note… As a school psychologist I am mostly working with students with academic deficits. These students often have lower writing skills than typical general education students or behaviors associated with writing. Therefore, I keep my worksheet activities that require writing to a minimum. If I feel that the worksheet will be helpful for facilitating discussion, however, I might do the physical writing for them to avoid resistance or behaviors.
Here are a few worksheets that I might use for older students:
4) Social Stories and Books
Social Stories can be a good targeted way to address a specific area of difficulty for individual students. Areas related to manners and respect may include stories about giving others personal space, playing on the playground, listening to the teacher, waiting you turn, or sharing. These topics are all related to learning manners, expected behaviors at school, and giving others respect.
Social stories are short stories that are a learning tool about a specific social skill or topic. The stories that I make for helping student learn about a topic by discussing that the behavior does not mean that they are “bad”, but that they can make better choice. In most of my stories I will indicate how their behavior impacts others to help build empathy. Finally, the stories give one or more strategies for changing their behavior.
One of the secrets to making an effective story is using it frequently. One read will probably not do the trick. Reviewing the story daily, such as in the morning, before a child has unstructured play, or even at home before bed, will better implant the information into the child’s memory. Last school year I had a TK student that would have an emotional melt down every morning when he arrived at school. In this instance, I read the story with his the first time, and then ask his mother to read it to him every night. After two weeks, two long weeks, the behavior subsided and he was able to attend school without issue.
Here are a few of the social stories that I have made and sell for under $3.50 in my Teachers pay Teachers store:
Whatever tools you decide to use to address helping students learn about manners and respect, you are on the right track to helping build your students’ or child’s social skills. Every little bit of instruction and support will make a difference in behavior and with building social skills that will support learning and relationships. If you are looking for more tools and resources to support other areas of Social-Emotional Learning, please check out my Teachers pay Teachers store! There are tons of individual activities as well as Activity Books that have tons of Games and Worksheets for the entire school year of Tier 1,2, and 3 Counseling and Social-Emotional Learning!
If you’d like to check out any of the games featured in this article…
Please just click on the picture and it will take you to the product in my Teachers pay Teachers store.
If you’d like to check out other topics in my store, please click on the topic below to see what I might have for you and your students. Happy Counseling!