4.1 Group Management

Sometimes, BusReady Ambassadors will have to manage the behaviour of a group of children while they walk out to the bus, when they line up outside the bus and when they board the bus.

Three Basic Rules for Managing Large Groups of Children

  1. Being positive: Focus on praising and rewarding good behavior to build children’s self-esteem and motivate them to continue behaving well. When you see a child doing something well, be sure to give them specific praise and recognition, such as “I like they way you are lining up so calmly!”
  2. Being patient: Managing a group of children can be challenging, and it’s important to remain patient and calm. This means taking the time to listen to children, understand their needs and feelings, and respond in a thoughtful and empathetic way. When a child is misbehaving or not following the rules, take a deep breath and try to understand why they might be acting out. Sometimes, children misbehave because they are hungry, tired, or overwhelmed, and a little bit of patience and understanding can go a long way in helping them get back on track.
  3. Speaking loudly so children can hear you: When managing a group of children, it’s important to speak loudly and clearly so that everyone can hear you. This means using a firm, but friendly tone of voice, and making sure that you are facing the children when you speak. If you’re in a noisy environment (such as outside) or the children are far away from you, you might need to raise your voice slightly so that everyone can hear you – without resorting to shouting or yelling at the group.

Giving Large Groups of Children Instructions

  1. Keep it simple: Children have short attention spans and can get easily overwhelmed by complicated instructions. Keep your instructions simple and easy to understand, using age-appropriate language and clear, concise sentences.
  2. Be specific: Make sure your instructions are specific and detailed, so that children know exactly what they need to do. For example, instead of saying “Okay, let’s go to the bus!”, you might say, “First, we’re going to calmly line up at the door.” and then go from there.
  3. Repeat and clarify: When giving instructions to a group of children, it’s important to repeat and clarify them if needed. You may need to say “Let’s line up at the door calmly” multiple times before it is completed successfully.
  4. Use nonverbal cues: Nonverbal cues such as hand signals or gestures can help reinforce your instructions and make them more clear for children who may have trouble understanding language.

An example of this would be when we ask them to line up like we are pretending to be at a bus stop! Here’s how you would phrase these instructions to the group to make it easy for kids to understand and listen:

“Okay, everyone! Raise your hand if you can hear me. Good! Please line up along the fence facing me, like we’re at a real bus stop! (using my hands to gesture toward the fence and making a line). Awesome! Yes, line up along the fence and then turn your body to face me. Perfect, awesome job!”

Taylor’s Tips: Touch Your Nose

I use this all the time when the group is loud and I need everyone’s attention quickly. At a little higher volume, I say “Touch your nose if you’re listening!” and I touch my own nose. This works well because about half the kids will be listening and they touch their nose immediately. The rest of the kids who are not listening notice pretty quickly that people are touching their noses, and look up to me to figure out why. I then repeat myself, “Touch your nose if you’re listening!” a bit quieter.

This usually gets the entire group’s attention without me having to yell, clap, or waste time waiting for them to calm down! If it’s taking longer, you can change the action. “Touch your ear if you’re listening” “Touch your head if you’re listening” “Do this _______ if you’re listening” all work well. Sometimes I will do something silly, like give myself bunny ears or stick out my tongue to make the kids laugh.

Another way to get their attention is a call and response method, very popular among teachers. You say “1,2,3, eyes on me!” and then the children will repeat “1,2, eyes on you” and you will mostly have the children’s attention! In my experience, this is a little bit overused with children and sometimes does not have the same effect as “Touch Your Nose” does.

Please watch the following video for an example of how Taylor uses ‘Touch Your Nose’ effectively during a Bus Tour:

BusReady Ambassador Training - Touch your Nose

Other ways to get the kids attention if you need it:

Loudly say “If you’re listening, touch your nose!” “Raise your hand if you can hear me!”

Loudly saying “1,2,3, eyes on me!”

Hold your hand in the air, with a finger over your mouth and say “Shhhhhhhh…..” until the group is quiet.

“Raise your hand if you can hear me!”

Clap 5 times. “Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap” The children will repeat you.

If all fails and you are unable to get the children’s attention, don’t be afraid to ask their teacher for help.