The Incredible “I” Message

I Messages

Communication with children is important, especially when conveying what you want them to do or need them to do.  The incredible “I” message is a very effective way to communicate with children.

Introduced in the 1970’s, “I” messages are basically a way of expressing our thoughts and emotions, using a soft voice and a statement that often begins with, “I feel…” Other examples include: “I’m upset because…” “I get angry because…” “I am excited that…”

When we use “I” messages with young children, we introduce a new viewpoint to the young child.   “I” messages personalize our communication and allow adults to share their feelings with the child in a positive manner.

For an undesirable behavior, “I” messages are a better way to talk to children in a positive way, rather than using negativity.  For example, you see a child throwing sand.  Your first inclination might be to say “Stop throwing that sand!”   Instead, try an “I” message in one of two ways:

  1. Tell the child what you WANT them to do, rather than what you want them NOT to do
  2. Share your feelings with the child about what they are doing and include a reason you feel that way

Some examples include:

Unwanted Behavior: “I” Message option 1: “I” Message option 2:
Not cleaning up for lunch I would like you to put away the toys now. I feel angry that you are still playing with the toys, because other children are hungry and waiting for lunch.
Throwing sand I need for you to keep the sand in the sandbox. It scares me when I see you throwing sand, because it can get into other children’s eyes and hurt them.
Knocking down another child’s block tower I want you to help Billy rebuild the tower. When you knock down Billy’s tower, it makes me sad because he worked really hard to build it.
Keeps getting up from mat at nap time I need you to stay on your mat. I am feeling upset that you are getting up from your mat because it is quiet time and some children are trying to sleep.

(From The Magical I-Message)

This formula isn’t really magical, but something about the “I” message appeals to a child’s better self. An “I” message is a tool for teaching children how to express feelings effectively and accurately; you are role modeling the ability to connect feelings with behavior. It is also a tool for showing trust for a child’s ability to change her own behavior. In addition, the “I” message builds on the child’s need to be accepted by those adults with whom she has a caring relationship.

Children react in different ways to “I” messages. If a child is exposed to strict, authoritarian discipline at home, an “I” message may not be forceful enough to inspire change. On the other hand, if his parents are very permissive, his sense of empathy or responsibility may not be developed enough to motivate a response.

State your “I” message in a positive, neutral voice while making eye contact, and with a sense of expectation. If the child is in danger or destroying something, remove her physically from the situation as you talk. Otherwise, give her time to respond appropriately. If you “I” message doesn’t bring change the first time, restate it more firmly.

Cow Appreciation Day Preschool Activities

July 15 is Cow Appreciation Day.  Here are some fun activities to incorporate into your child care program that involve cows.           “Milk” Cows – Fill latex gloves with milk and tie them shu.  Poke small holes in the fingers of the gloves.  Hang the gloves under a small folding table […]

25 Ways to move like an animal

Having children move like animals, especially while transitioning from one activity to the next, is a great way to encourage activity and keep kids on their toes.  Here are 25 ways to move like an animal to challenge children.  Instead of simply having kids get in line to go outside, ask them to gallop like […]

50 Simple “Good Job” Alternatives

“Good job” is one of the most overused praise phrases spoken to young children.  Here is a list of simple “Good job” alternatives. Keep in mind, that these are just general, simple phrases for something different.  The best way to praise a child and encourage self-esteem, is to be specific as to what they did.  […]

Snowmen Books for Children

Snowmen Books for Children:  Winter time is a wonderful time to involve snowmen in your child care program.   Snowmen themes and activities are great fun for young children.  We found a collection of some of the best snowmen books for children.  These books are appropriate for children ages 1-6, and they can make a great […]

Child Care Provider Resolutions

Child Care Provider Resolutions

2016 is here…a new year.  We often make personal resolutions, but have you thought about resolutions for yourself as a child care provider? Try these resolutions this year: Greet EVERY child and parent with a smile each day. Say something positive to every child each day. Encourage learning through play by asking leading questions when […]

New Year Songs and Finger Plays

Here are a collection of songs about the New Year that are great for young children.  Start the new year off by talking about resolutions and the calendar.  These songs and finger plays make a fun addition to any New Year preschool theme. Cheer the Year (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat): Cheer, cheer, cheer […]

Sensory Table Fillers

Sensory Tables are great fun for children and they get to learn through hands-on experimenting.  Changing the fillers in the sensory table every couple weeks will keep children’s attention and interest, plus it gives them something new to experiment with.  Here is a list of ideas for filling your sensory table: Popcorn Split Peas Colored […]

Diabetes Awareness in Child Care

November is Diabetes Awareness Month When most people think of diabetes, they tend to think that it has to do with eating too much sugar or being overweight.  For children diagnosed with Type 1 (or Juvenile) Diabetes, this is not the case. What is Type 1 Diabetes? Type 1 Diabetes affects about 3 million Americans, […]

20 Halloween Books that Teach the Alphabet

Looking to teach kids about the alphabet during October?  Try these Halloween alphabet books!

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Virtual Server Hosting | Thanks to Best Themes Directory, Wicked Eugene and Premium Themes