Telling Tales or Tattling - ELSA Support

Telling Tales or Tattling

An ELSA asked me if I had anything for telling tales. I didn’t but now I do. I love to hear from you so if you have an idea for a resource do let me know. The chances are that I have something, can adapt something or create something for you.

Children tell tales, tattle , dob or tell on other people. It is a common problem. It can have an adverse effect on the child because they will become unpopular with other children and it can also cause their tales not to be heard by the adults. There is an element of crying wolf with tale telling. When something is really wrong and they need help it might be hard to listen or believe.

Telling tales Problem solving

Children do sometimes do this because they struggle to problem solve themselves and just want to pass on that information for an adult to sort out. It might be that you need to work more on their problem solving skills which you can do with the scenarios you create for this resource. How would they sort this out without telling or is this really beyond their control? How does it affect them? Is this really dangerous? Is this unsafe?


Children need to understand the difference between reporting something wrong, something dangerous or something that is a real problem that they can’t sort themselves, to telling tales on minor issues, things they could sort themselves, telling on others to feel good in themselves or things that might make them unpopular with others.

The resource

These thought filter pockets will help pupils to sort out the difference between reporting something to the adult or dealing with it themselves.

Dealing with it themselves might be as simple as letting it go if it doesn’t affect them. If someone is breaking a minor rule or making a mistake and it doesn’t affect them then do they really need to tell anyone? Someone sticking out their tongue out at someone else and they see it, do they really need to tell? Cutting in the line and it doesn’t affect them, does it really matter? Do they really need to tell?

Make up the pockets, write scenarios in the thought bubbles, ones that are personal to the child work best. Read through the questions at the top and decide whether this scenario should be reported to an adult or not.

Download: Telling tales pack

If you want a whole class or group activity then check out this PowerPoint. Please click the image to take you there.

Telling tales powerpoint

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