Camper Behavior Management Guide Click on each Behavior

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1 Camper Behavior Management Guide Click on each Behavior Aggression or Violence... 2 Argumentative or verbally abusive... 2 Boredom/Lazy... 2 Bullying... 2 Constant Complaining or Whining... 3 Destructive to property, vandalism... 3 Doesn t follow directions or pay attention... 3 Fears (failing, reluctant to try new things, etc.)... 4 Group Instigator... 4 Inappropriate Language (swearing, use of sexual language)... 4 Impatience... 5 Lying... 5 Pranks or Hazing... 6 Put other down (name calling, unkind remarks)... 6 Runaway/Wanderer... 7 Stealing or Borrowing without Permission... 7 Substance Abuse (smoking, alcohol, drugs)... 8 Showing-off or Clowning... 8 Tattling, gossiping, blaming others... 9 Testing rules, limits... 9 Unusual sexual behavior (inappropriate touching of others or themselves, exposure, etc.) Victim revenge Table of Contents Page 1

2 Aggression or Violence (physical abuse-hitting shoving, weapons) Discuss with camper excepted and unacceptable behavior. Leave room for campers to make some choices. Let camper know it s all right to take a time out. Argumentative or verbally abusive Discuss rules and expectations in terms of handling conflicts. Reinforce appropriate behavior such as compromise, cooperation, respect for others, etc. whenever you can. Boredom/Lazy Discuss with group the schedule for the day or week. Post the schedule where everyone can see what s next. Have group give suggestions of what activities they want to do. Be sure the group gets enough sleep at night and rest during the day for their age. Bullying Discuss with group appropriate communications and how to gain cooperation from other campers. Give campers examples of appropriate ways to influence fellow campers. You should listen and observe your group so you will be aware if bullying occurs. Take camper away from the situation. Discuss reasons for this behavior. Help campers deal with whatever prompted this behavior. Stop the behavior before it turns into physical abuse. Avoid looking shocked or laughing at them Discuss the inappropriate behavior such as shouting or name calling and ask each to explain the problem Help them to see alternative ways to solve problems. Have several games, songs, and ideas of things to do when there are slow times. Move among the group when its rest time to be sure they are quiet. Have quiet activities before bedtime. Immediately separate campers. Take the camper that s bullying to an area where you can talk. You will need to stay neutral and calm. Table of Contents Page 2

3 Constant Complaining or Whining Give suggestions on Point out the behavior and appropriate ways to express explain how it affects others. your opinion. Try to find out the reasons for Utilize camper planning or complaints and address each urge camper input on activities with the child. Don't become they want to do. defensive. Don't let the whining or Explain to the child that you complaining cause you to lose patience with the child. Encourage the camper to try new things and use positive will not respond to them when they are whining, complaining, or saying I can't do something without trying. phrases instead of complaining. Destructive to property, vandalism Discuss with campers about respecting camp property and other campers personal property. Work with administrative staff on how to handle destructive behaviors and which should be documented. Be sure campers know the consequences of destructive behavior. Doesn t follow directions or pay attention Make directions ageappropriate, clear and direct. Give directions in small workable steps. With some task you will need to move around helping them stay on task. Ask them to repeat the directions back to you and make sure they understand them. Campers that have history of destructive behavior will need to inter into a contract. Everyone should know that if property is destroyed it will have to be paid for by offending camper. Be patient, flexible, and willing to work with campers on a personal basis. When teaching activities. Table of Contents Page 3

4 Fears (failing, reluctant to try new things, etc.) Campers should be assured on opening day that they are safe. Do not tell scary stories, especially to young children. Do not make campers participate if uncomfortable with activity, unless essential to camp program. Group Instigator If the camper has followers, purposely plan activities to mix the group. Discuss expectations for behavior and channel leadership into positive actions. Give campers examples of appropriate ways to influence fellow campers. Help the camper understand the consequences of his or her actions. Consider the reasons for the camper exercising power and influence on others. Inappropriate Language (swearing, use of sexual language) Explain rules about inappropriate language the first day. Role model appropriate language at all times. Give campers examples of accepted language when expressing their disagreements. Complement campers when you hear them using appropriate language. Give them acceptable ways to voice disagreements. Make sure no one makes fun of campers fear. When camper is afraid of activity, break it down into small task. Separate the camper from the group and discuss the inappropriate behavior and the negative results of the group's action and their leadership. Help the camper determine alternative positive ways to influence the group. Provide recognition to him or her for positive leadership. Don t ignore or react (shocked or laugh) speak calmly. Make sure you correct campers so others don t think its cool and repeat. Find out what the reason is for using inappropriate language (anger or out of not knowing better). Table of Contents Page 4

5 Impatience Explain teamwork and ask for Discuss the camper's feelings ideas of what he or she could and help him or her decide do to help others who are what to do when they feel slower or less skilled. impatient (waiting their turn, If a child is impatient at their waiting for an activity to start, own skill in doing something, or on others in their group). have other options or give Empathize with feelings of them some personal attention with small steps that lead to success. Have several games, songs and frustration and help them deal appropriately with any anger that might come from those feelings. ideas of things to do when Discuss self-control, being in a there are slow times or when they have finished before group, why there are schedules or rules, etc. others. Encourage the child to complete projects successfully Lying Emphasize trust and the team or group working together. Don't laugh and inadvertently reward the behavior. Model telling the truth. When you make a mistake, admit it. To promote truthfulness, consistently recognize and praise campers for honesty. or to help others finish. Determine the reasons for the behavior (attention, belonging, getting respect, etc) and suggest appropriate ways to deal with those feelings. Do not "set up a camper to lie" if you know they have done something wrong. Tell them you know what happened and ask for ways to remedy the situation. Ignore obvious exaggerations and help the camper tell the difference between reality and wishful thinking. Table of Contents Page 5

6 Pranks or Hazing Discuss inappropriateness of pranks or hazing, which can hurt someone emotionally or physically. Jokes or pranks can grow out of control. If a joke is played on you, let it go without retaliation. Be sure campers are aware of the consequences of a joke that is hurtful or destructive. As a role model do not instigate pranks or hazing activities on other staff or campers. Help children not to react in the anticipated manner to a joke played on them. If they ignore or accept it without acknowledgement the real joke may be on the perpetrators. Jokes or pranks on counselors or on a group that are done carefully and for the campers benefit could build spirit and model how to be good sports. All adults and staff in camp behave consistently in handling incidents of pranks, jokes, or Put other down (name calling, unkind remarks) Discuss that it is unacceptable to put others down or call them hurtful names. Talk about how hurtful these actions are to others and how they would feel if it happened to them. Be a good example when interacting with campers, show them respect. Move around group to listen to campers communicate with each other. Go over consequences of this behavior before it happens. hazing type activities. Stop the put down or name calling immediately and don t overreact. Do not react by laughing or ignoring the behavior thus giving camper the sense you are condoning such behavior. Correct camper in a calm voice and manner. Camper may not realize that what they said is not appropriate or hurtful. Table of Contents Page 6

7 Runaway/Wanderer Discuss expectations for where If the child is missing, stay they can and cannot go without calm, keep the group calm and a counselor and why. together, check obvious places, Try to identify why the camper ask others about when last leaves the group. seen, and report as per Establish procedures for procedures for a search. searching for a missing If camper frequently wanders camper. remind them of the rules, safety reasons for staying together, and consequences for wandering. Discuss problem with whole group and ask for help in keeping everyone together (establishing a buddy system, number off participants, and Stealing or Borrowing without Permission Have campers mark belongings and be responsible for their things. Make expectations clear on the first day about use of others' belongings and care for their own belongings. Be aware of what each camper is bringing to camp and if there is something of value either ask the parents to take it home or ask the director for a safe place to keep it. Know the camp policy regarding searching a camper or staff member's belongings. periodically ask for a call-off). If there has been an accusation, be sensitive to both parties feelings, and try to determine if the action was stealing, a mistake, or used with or without permission. If you know who is stealing, the stolen item should be returned with an apology and the incident discussed with the director. If unsure who is stealing, have a group meeting and determine how the missing item should be returned. Table of Contents Page 7

8 Substance Abuse (smoking, alcohol, drugs) Policies should be in the material sent to camper and parents before camp starts. Be a positive role model and follow camp policies. Do not discuss with campers whether you smoke, drink, or do drugs. Make campers aware of the camp's policies, the laws in their state, and the consequences of a camper caught with drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Know the camp policy regarding searching a camper or staff member's belongings. Showing-off or Clowning Do not laugh or encourage show-off behavior, explain that there may be a more appropriate time to tell the story or act in that manner. Help the campers understand expectations for accomplishing a task or activity and the time period available. Explain the importance of being serious, listening, and paying attention to instructions so that they can participate in activities or for safety reasons. Explain they have broken a camp policy and follow procedures about consequences. Be sure that you do not make premature conclusions and follow procedures about searching belongings and confiscating the materials. Take camper aside and explain why his or her behavior is interruptive and inappropriate. Try to access the reasons for the behavior and ask for a serious answer. Try to channel the action in to a positive role in a skit or other appropriate activity. Once the camper's behavior is given attention (positive or negative) by others the behavior may be difficult for the child to control. Table of Contents Page 8

9 Tattling, gossiping, blaming others Discuss the consequences and Help them express their unacceptable nature of gossip. feelings about what someone Talk about how hurtful it may did they don't like. feel if it happened to them. Listen to both sides and discuss Do team-building activities. more appropriate ways to Try to determine the reason for handle the situation. tattling on others (to win favor, Explain that you know they are get others in trouble). Don't label them a tattletale or trying to help, but correction is your job. gossip. Do not ignore the behavior Show campers respect. thus giving camper the sense that you condone the behavior. Reward other ways of getting Testing rules, limits Make sure your rules and expectations are reasonable and coincide with camp expectations. Have the group identify their own rules for functioning safely as a group at camp. Review these rules on the first day, explain why the rule is important. Remember to be consistent in enforcing the rules and in praising campers that follow the rules. attention. Talk to the camper away from the group about his or her behavior. Review the rules with the whole group and ask for their help in reinforcing positive behavior. Give campers the opportunity to challenge rules appropriately. Meet with other staff and the director to discuss productive ways to challenge authority and how to prevent difficulties. Table of Contents Page 9

10 Unusual sexual behavior (inappropriate touching of others or themselves, exposure, etc.) Discuss privacy issues, personal space, and unwanted touching of other campers. Unusual sexual behavior may be an indication of sexual abuse in the home or other settings or an indication the child has been stimulated by magazines, TV or observation of an older sister or brother. Discuss such behaviors with the director. Victim revenge Discuss what to do if you are being bullied. Victims are often physically weak or emotionally vulnerable and won't seek help. Recognize that this is a difficult cycle to stop and that children can be very cruel to each other. Do teambuilding and bonding activities that put a rejected child on equal footing with others. Try to match children in the group so that they are at the same maturity level. Copyright 2006 American Camp Association If you observe inappropriate touching of a camper by another camper, speak directly to the camper about the action. Do not assume campers know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. Follow the camp's procedures for reporting and documentation of such incidents. Deal with the aggressors but realize that reprimanding the whole group may make it worse for the scapegoat. Tell the teased child new ways to respond. Being angry or crying may encourage additional attacks. Acknowledge that it is easy to ignore teasing, make suggestions and practice answers with him or her. The group may suggest that the scapegoat be in another group or stay with the counselor which if allowed may perpetuate the rejection of the child. Table of Contents Page 10

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