Children must be taught that reporting possible dangerous or harmful behavior is not tattling. We want our children to come to us if they are scared, or see someone else getting hurt. If a child is concerned about something that does not seem right, they should find a trusted adult to talk to. Tattling is not reporting. Tattling is done with the goal of getting someone else in trouble, as a way to solve a small problem, or to manipulate a situation. An example is when a child who doesn't get his or her way in deciding what game to play, may warn others that they are going to tell, knowing the friends or sibling will get in trouble.
Bella is throwing rocks (reporting)
Maryann took something that wasn't hers (reporting)
Ty keeps looking at me weird (tattling)
Amy keeps trying to trip me (reporting)
Keisha didn't bring her homework (tattling)
Jose has a dirty desk (tattling)
Mohamed's foot is stuck in the fence (reporting)
Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal, by Jeanie Franz Ransom
Print out and have each child sign a pledge page that they will not tattle.