Indian Nations CouncilThe Greatest Show on Earth
How can you take 5-10 boys, between 1st and 4th grades, for one hour a week, teach them something, have them create something, express themselves, enjoy themselves, and still maintain your own sanity? That's a question den leaders have often asked themselves.
This section hopes to offer some suggestions to help make it all possible. Trying to maintain control of a group of active cubs isn't easy--but it's not impossible either.
The first and most important thing you can do to maintain order in your den is to prepare yourself.
Be prepared for your den meetings, too. Plan your meetings in advance and make sure you have all the materials ready and waiting for the boys. They will find something to do while you are off looking for the scissors, and it may not be what you had in mind! Have an extra song or game planned, just in case things move along faster than you expected. Spare time can be a disaster! If you have something for the boys to do every minute they will be less likely to get into trouble.
Don't forget to make use of your Assistant Den Leader and/or Den Chief. They are valuable resources. They can occupy the boys with a game or a song while you record dues and advancement. An extra pair of helping hands are always welcome at the craft table, too.
Emotional Needs Of Boys
The emotional needs of boys between 1st and 4th grades are basically the same. All boys (in fact, all people) have:
The need to be loved.
The need to be accepted.
The need to be noticed.
The need to belong.
The need to be praised and encouraged.
The need to be safe and secure.
The need to let off steam.
The need to express themselves.
The need to experiment (and make some mistakes in the process)
The need to have fun.
How each boy tries to fulfill these needs is what really makes him unique. One boy may be very timid and quiet and another loud and rowdy, but both are afraid they won't be loved. We usually notice the rowdy one, but both need our care and attention.
If a boy wants to be noticed and receives a lot of attention from you when he misbehaves, his need to be noticed is fulfilled. He will probably continue his inappropriate behavior because it best fulfills his need.
Well then, what's a den leader to do? Boys will be boys and will probably get into trouble. How can you deal with misbehavior, build up their self-esteem and still maintain some kind of order in your den? You need a plan of discipline.
Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is setting boundaries and sticking to them. Discipline is making the child responsible for his own behavior - - telling him that if he chooses a certain course of action, what the specific consequences of that action will be. Discipline is training given to a child to mold or correct his behavior.
Children need to realize they have choices. If they act one way, this will be the result. If they choose a different action, the result may be different, too. They can choose how things will go for them.
As a den leader, you need to spell out for the boys what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Also, let them know the consequences for acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Page XLeadership Fundamentals