Learning to Lead and Follow
An important social skill for kids to learn is both learning how to be a leader and a follower. When I have taught lessons on this I will ask the kids "what makes a good leader?'
They will say someone who takes charge. "What makes a good follower?" "Someone who does whatever the leader says."
Kids are shocked when I suggest that a good follower sometimes lets the leader know their opinions and ideas. That it is okay to think differently than the follower. A good leader listens to other people's ideas, and then makes a decision. A good leader serves those who follows him/her. A good follower offers suggestions but once a leader makes a decision follows them unless the follower feels it is ethically against their views.
What are some good ideas to help children learn leadership and following skills?
1. Discuss what makes a good leader or follower.
2. MOTHER MAY I. Fantastic game!
How to play: One player is designated as the mother (boys can be the father). The mother/father stands at one end of the room, and the remaining players line up at the opposite end. Players take turns asking "Mother/Father, may I (movement suggestion)?" The mother/father answers either "Yes, you may" or "No, but you may (another movement suggestion)." Even if the mother/father makes an unfavorable suggestion, such as return to the starting point, the player must perform it.
The rules: Some suggestions of what the players may ask the mother/father include: take (number of) steps/baby steps/giant steps/frog leaps forward.
How to win: Be the first person to reach the mother or father. That person becomes the next mother or father if another round is played.
What else you need to know: The mother/father can reduce the number of steps being asked to take or change the type of steps they make or even tell the player to take that number of steps backward instead.
This is a great game in teaching how to ask our leaders for something, how to negotiate what we want and how to follow. It also helps teh mother/father how to lead. You can change the mother/father to a story leader such as "Dumbledore May I" (from Harry Potter) or "Chiron May I" (from Percy Jackson.)
3. Play Hot/Cold.
Step 1: Choose a Hunter
Choose one player to be the Hunter, and have them leave the room or move away from the group.
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I am a mother of 3. I have a passion for helping kids feel comfortable in their 'own skin'.