Sanity-Saving Tips for Classroom Management in December


December can be a wild month in the kindergarten classroom!  The behavior honeymoon period is over and kids are showing their true colors (behaviors).  The schedule is a mess, but you still have to maintain order in the classroom.  But how?  In this post, I’m going to share some sanity-saving tips for classroom management in December.  

December Classroom Management Challenges

There are several factors that can impact your classroom management in December:

Honeymoon Period is Over:  Your students have become more comfortable in your classroom and certain behavior management strategies might have gotten a little bit lax.

Schedule Interruptions:  From holiday spirit weeks to assemblies, December is known as a month of disruptions

Progress Monitoring: If your school gathers data prior to school breaks, the assessments typically happen in December.

Absences:  It’s the height of cold and flu season!  Student and teacher absences can definitely disrupt the flow of classroom management.

Seasonal Excitement:  Whether it’s prepping for holiday travel, daydreaming of wishlists, or consuming extra treats, students are buzzing with excitement in December! This often impacts behavior in a less-than-ideal way.

A teacher looks disapprovingly at students misbehaving

5 Tips for Classroom Management in December

Even though December can be a crazy month in the classroom, there are several things you can do to maintain an environment of learning.  

1. Rely on Positive Relationships

December is a time when you really need to lean into the positive relationships you have developed.  Effective classroom management is built on a foundation of positive relationships with your students.  Young children aren’t open to receiving constructive feedback or redirection from someone that doesn’t like them.

If you feel like your positive relationships have suffered a little bit as undesirable behaviors have increased, take the time to connect with those students.  Focus on establishing a positive relationship now so that you can rely on it when things get busy!

2. Maintain Consistency (with a Twist)

Whatever classroom management tools and routines you have used to get you this far into the school year should be what you use through December.  Some teachers might be tempted to start something new that they will continue into the new year, but it’s not the best idea.  Your students will come back after a long break having forgotten those new tools and routines anyway.

Holiday themed glow and grow notes
Holiday themed sticker charts

Just because you’re maintaining consistent routines does not mean that you need to ignore the holiday!  It takes very little effort to add a fun holiday twist to your existing classroom management tools.  For example, you can use holiday-themed sticker charts or Glow and Grow notes with cute seasonal clipart. 

3. Use a Whole Class Reward Incentive

One of my favorite ways to encourage positive behavior during the month of December is with a whole group class incentive chart.  It’s amazing what a difference it can make in the feel of the classroom when you are catching students being good. Since December can be a time when disruptive behavior is on the rise, it feels like all we’re doing as teachers is correcting and redirecting students.  By focusing on positive behaviors instead and working toward a classroom goal, you’ll be able to recognize the students who are making good choices while encouraging other students to do the same.

Build a gingerbread man behavior incentive on a bulletin board

Whole class rewards are a great way to bring in a little bit of holiday fun to the classroom.  I have created a set of December Build-a-Reward Incentives for teachers to use in their classrooms. Depending on the policies in your school, there are a variety of fun holiday pictures that your students can work together to build with positive behavior choices.

If you’d like to take a closer look at the December behavior incentives, be sure to check out the video below!  

4. Be Prepared for Absences

If you have ever tried to gather student data before a school break or finish up a holiday gift for parents, you know how difficult absences can be!  In the height of cold and flu season, be sure to give yourself enough time to finish up assessments and projects in December.  Use a checklist to keep track of which students have completed each portion so you can stay organized.

A behavior management puzzle with a holiday theme.

You’ll also want to make sure that you prepare for the possibility of your own absence!  With all of the stress of the holiday season, an illness might come knocking on your door.  Be sure to provide a simple reward system for your substitute teacher to use with your students.  This will help to maintain positive behavior until you return.

5. Embrace the Excitement

My final sanity-saving tip for December is to embrace the excitement of the season and roll with whatever chaos comes your way.  You’ll only have one December with this group of students, so enjoy it as much as you can!  Your attitude toward the month’s events and activities will be contagious.  If your students only ever hear that December is a crazy month at school, then they will treat it that way. 

A smiling teacher and students sit on the floor of the classroom

Use your students’ excitement for the season as a way to increase buy-in for your existing classroom management tools and routines.  By adding a few seasonal touches and fun activities, you can keep your students on track and engaged during the month of December. 

Printable Survival Pack for December Classroom Management

In order to help you make the most of December in your classroom, I have created a printable survival pack with everything you need to keep behavior on track.  From behavior incentives to teacher checklists and communication tools, you’ll be able to bring a fun holiday twist to your classroom management. These resources are designed to be simple to implement, so you can have them prepped and ready to go in no time at all!

If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this December classroom management tool kit, you can find it on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Save These Classroom Management Tips for December

I hope that this post has given you some ideas for helping your kindergarten classroom run more smoothly this December.  If you’d like to come back to these classroom management tips later, be sure to save this post! You can add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest so you can find these tips and resources whenever you’re ready to download and print! 

Classroom management tips and ideas for December


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