Teacher Needs Guidance on First Graders Playing Chase and Kissing Games–A Lot!
I teach first grade at a local private school in Seattle. I have been in education almost 20 years, but only in first grade for three. For the first time ever, I have a class that is very interested in the opposite sex and the beginning of sexual exploration and behaviors. There is talk about girlfriends/boyfriends, crushes, hand holding, some kissing, and one situation where a boy convinced a girl to lift up her dress and show her chest.
This all seems like pretty harmless chase and kissing game behaviors for first graders, but nonetheless it seems to be at the forefront of their minds. I want to teach them what is appropriate in a school setting without putting taboo on the whole situation.
Do you have any ideas you would recommend for me to use with the children and resources that I can pass on to the parents?
Kids are experimenting and playing kissing games more and more these days
Howdy Teacher Erin!
This is happening more and more these days – kids are experimenting and mimicking adult-like sexual behaviors more and more these days. This includes playing kissing games, chase, and even having boy and girl friends, in the romantic sense.
I would suggest you read the book I Can Play It Safe by Alison Feigh to your class. It’s perfect for first graders. It provides a really great perspective on bodies and boundaries.
When the boyfriend/girlfriend and crushing thing is going on, remind parents to talk their kids about what they like about the other person. This encourages the idea that our romantic partners are our friends, too. You can do the same.
Calmly remind the kids when they get out of control like flashing, chasing, hyper-focus on the “relationships” that their behavior isn’t “okay” or “safe” and they need to stop. The other thing that needs to stop is using the word “inappropriate” with kids. They don’t really understand it or hear it.
And, finally, this behavior is a totally typical part of childhood sexual development and if you all stay calm, remind them of the rules about touching, chasing and flashing, this too shall pass.
You’ve got this!