The aggressive alligator: fun ways to teach assertiveness to children 

Teaching children how to be assertive, instead of passive or aggressive, is one of the most helpful social skills we can give to them. I have found this concept can be a little dry though and the words are sometimes difficult to reminder. What I have also found is remembering the words”passive,” “aggressive,” and “assertive” is not what is important. What is important is that they remember the skill, but children often need a way to conceptualize it.   
I start by teaching the terms passive, aggressive, and assertive in simple definitions. Then I show them a bin of small animals and allow them to choose an animal to represent each definition.  Remember that there is no right or wrong in the animals they choose. Different children will have different perspectives on which animals are passive, aggressive, and assertive. 

 After they have an animal for each, I allow children to act out social situations with each animal. Then we can talk about how different the outcome was when the assertive horse handled the problem vs the aggressive alligator or the passive insect. 

I have found children will forget the terms passive, aggressive, and assertive but they can remember the animals and be promoted to handle situations using these images instead. “Let’s see if we can go back to class and handle this like the horse instead of the alligator.” Let’s make social skills fun so children actually want to learn them and remember them! 🙂 


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