When we observe that a child is having difficulties exhibiting appropriate behavior, the What If Game gives us a way to begin teaching thinking skills and different possibilities.
For example: If we see a child who is pushing children out of the swings at outdoor time, we can gather a small group, or you can even do this in a whole group setting. Pose a situation and then ask and discuss with the group three key questions.
Ask: What if you wanted to swing on the swing and nobody would let you have a turn?
- How would you feel?
- What could you say?
- What could you do?
Introducing this simple scenario followed by these three discussion questions helps the child with lagging skills express their own emotions, listen to others’ point of view, as well as listen to other ways of doing and being.
For other children, this exercise also empowers them to help the child with lagging skills by offering friendly reminders about how to ask to swing, how to wait your turn, etc.
Perhaps for the child who swings more than her share, she can begin to understand others’ frustrations and points of view.
Play the What If Game to help children learn appropriate behavior and learn to be successful in social situations.