When kids get a little wilder than they should at camp, it is 100% counselor’s responsibility to watch for the kids not to snap on one another and to keep their energy as low as possibae when it happens.
So take a moment to check the following guidelines for managing conflict among campers and their behavior.
Oops! Is that a smell of stress in the air? Good job you found out but now is time to take some actions:
- Separate the campers so that they cannot see each other. This avoids further conflict and gives the campers time to cool off;
- Try to find out what really happened. Hear both sides of the story, one at a time. Talk to anyone else that was present;
- Resolve the conflict. This can include behavior management if necessary.
Managing the behavior of campers
- Use discipline, not punishment. Discipline is future-oriented; punishment is past-oriented. Talk to the camper about what they did wrong and why it was wrong. Then focus on what needs to be done right in the future. Help the camper see the connection between the discipline and his behavior;
- Save your voice; it is one of the only tools that you can actually use to manage the behavior of campers. Do not yell at campers for minor incidents. Rather, explain to them what they did wrong. Only elevate your voice or change your tone in serious circumstances;
- Find another staff member to use as a witness;
You need to watch out for the limits that are sometimes not clear in a young counselor’s mind between acceptable behavior management and unacceptable behavior management (child abuse); make sure those definitions are extremely clear and pinned on the top of everyone’s mind.
- Fill out an incident report if the incident is serious enough.