“Uh-oh. Someone said a bad word!”
If you work with children or have children of your own, you’ve probably heard (and said) this or similar statements many times. Children use inappropriate words for a variety of reasons—they may hear someone else say the word and say it on accident, they may be upset and use bad language to hurt someone else, or they may say a curse word to get attention from adults and other children. Inappropriate language is often a challenging behavior that teachers have to address to ensure that no one is offended or gets their feelings hurt and to help children develop good manners and social skills.
Children may or may not be allowed to use bad language at home, but you need to make sure they understand that cursing and name calling are not allowed in the classroom or anywhere at school. Establish clear rules and consequences for when a child curses or uses inappropriate language. Another way you can curb bad language in the classroom is by talking with children about appropriate words they can use to express their thoughts and feelings, such as the words included in the image below.
Featured in Judy Fujawa’s (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Early Childhood Education, a book from award-winning publisher Gryphon House, this list of 10 “F” Words That Children Are Allowed To Use is the perfect way to remind children to use appropriate words.
Helpful Tip: Print out the above image and post it on a bulletin board in your classroom. When children say a bad word, tell them to go find the image on the board and pick out a word that they can use to make a positive or nice sentence.
Be sure to read our Insights and Inspirations article Addressing Challenging Behaviors for additional tips and information on how you can address other challenging behaviors in the classroom.
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