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How would you handle a child who was misbehaving and not following instructions?

1 of 35 Camp Counselor Interview Questions and Answers Written by Ryan Brown

Updated July 1st, 2018
How to Answer

The interviewer wants to know you aren't soft, and able to handle intolerant kids. Make sure you are capable of telling a child what the rules are and any misbehaviors are not tolerated. After disciplining the child, you will see how to best modify the activity so the child can participate.

Written by:

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 11/21/2014
Last modified on: 07/01/2018

View user-submitted Answers

How would you handle a child who was misbehaving and not following instructions?
Explain to them what they are doing wrong and set rules for how they should behave. I would look for support from other staff if the behaviour continued.
If a younger child was misbehaving while I was explaining a game I would tell them that if they don't pay attention they will miss out on the instructions and they will have to sit out the first round so they know how to play.
I would pull the child aside during a time and reexplain the rules but also let the child explain why they are not acting this way.
I would take the child a side and say what the incorrect behavior is why they needed to stop the behavior and what the consequence was if they choose to not stop the behavior.
#1 they wouldn't be able to take away fun from the other campers. If it got to the point that it was so bad and I would need to make a phone call home.
I would try to talk to them and find out if their is a reason why they are acting out to see if we could fix the problem.
If possible I would take them aside for 5 minutes and ask them why they dont want to cooperate. If they have something else going on I would listen to them and see if we could find a solution or help them feel better about it. If they just dont enjoy what we are doing I would either give them the option to do something else or if that wasnt possible, I would give them 2 or 3 options of how they could participate on this occasion and let them choose so they felt like they were in control. I would encourage them to be more cooperative next time and speak to me if they had an issue rather then playing up.
Tell them nicely not to do it, if they continue I take the kid aside and ask them whats wrong.
I would first discreetly pull the child aside and warm them that I did not like what I saw and how they could fix their behavior. If it kept going on I would have them excluded from an activity.
Pull them aside and talk.
Communication is defiantly key, first I would talk to the child and maybe move him aside. Or find a more sutible activity for the child to do.
I would pull them aside and let them know that they behavior is not needed at camp and it can harm themselves and others and give them a warning and if it happens talk to their adult leader about taking away sally.
I would take the child aside and talk to them about their behavior. I would ask them why they do not want to follow instructions and make sure that there is nothing wrong with something that happened during the day. If necessary, I would contact someone higher up if the situation got too out of hand and became a danger to other campers or staff, including myself.
Give them time out to think about their actions.
I would ask them why they were acting the way that they were.
I would talk to them at first and ask them to stop misbehaving, if they continue to misbehave I would tell them to sit out for a bit and then once they regroup they may continue with the other kids.
I would ask the child to stop doing what they are doing and try to turn their attention to a different activity, I would give them options as to what they want to be doing rather than what it is they are doing wrong.
Try speak to him. Understand why acting like that, ask him to stop then if its looking liek going to cause danger get a more senior member to help.
First, I would try to figure out why the child is misbehaving and give them a warning. If the problem persists, I would make it clear that there were rules in place and since they aren't being followed, the child wont be able to continue with the activity. Activities like that are earned.
Take them one on one to discuss their behaviour, informing them as to why they can not do whatever it is they are doing for example by relating it back to health and safety, enjoyment of fellow campers etc.
1. Repeat the instructions and give them a warning. 2. Have them sit out and talk to them. 3. Time out 4. Send to site director and talk to parents at arrival.
I would take them aside, speak to them and explain to them the importance of following instructions in a camp setting.
First off I would use verbal warnings. I would let the child know that what they are doing is not acceptable and give them the chance to correct their behavior. If not they I would threaten to take away certain privileges, such as removing them from group activities or having to sit with counselors during lunch, and if need be would carry through with those actions. If the child behavior escalates to a particularly unruly and unacceptable behavior then I would probably call their parents or take them to the director, if the camp has one, and let them handle it from there.
3 Strike rule - 3 warnings 1 - A word in front of the group saying stop what they are doing 2 - Pull the kid to the side and tell them to stop, tell them they are on a final warning 3 - Sit out for 5 minutes.
I would talk to them and tell them that what they're doing is unfair to me and their peers and they should have fun.
I'd give them a warning, and if it happened again, I would take them aside and talk to them about how they're feeling today, explain that not following instructions affects other people outside of themselves.
I would tell the child to sit on there bed until they can give me an explanation of why they acted up!
Sit them down and try to talk to them one on one. If that doesn't work have them sit out for the activity we're doing, talk again. If it's consistent I'll report them to higher authority.
Explain to her the implications of her actions-- how she may be effecting others. Tell her that she needs to do the right thing and explain what that is. Compliment other campers when they are doing the right thing-- offer specific praise.
I would warn them first, and separate them from whatever they were distracted by, and prevent them from being a interruption to the class. If he continued to not participate, I would allow it, as he would not earn any merit from the activity.
I would take them to the side and ask them what's going on and how there day is going and hopefully get to the bottom of why they're doing what they're doing.
I would remind the child of the rules and give a warning. If it were to occur, I would discipline the child according to the proper punishment (i. E. A punishment that is adequate to the behavior). If the child were to continue misbehaving, I would escalate and contact a supervisor for guidance and assistance.
Pull them aside, explain to them what they did wrong and tell them what the consequences will be. Then, give them a chance to redeem themselves.
I would bring them aside and ask if anything is bothering them and if they say no I would then tell them that is okay to be confused about something and I am here to help then I would reinstruct them.
I would pull the child aside and speak with them. Typically, there will be a reason the child isn't cooperating. If that doesn't work, I'll provide a punishment or a "time out" from activities. Not for the entire activitiy, but for part of it.
I would talk to them. I would try to see what's going on with them, then let someone that's in charge handle it.
Talk to them nicely first and ask them to cooperate.
Depends on the situation- if what they are doing is a harm to themselves and others take them out of the activity to watch and then later explain why and if they are willing to work on their behavior then allow them to participate again.
Separate them from the group, just pull them to the side and get down to their level and speak to them quietly but firmly telling them what I need them to do.
I would take them to the side and ask them why they are acting that why. I would also give them some quite time.
Talk to them first and if they don't respond I would report them to an adult.
I would discuss with the child the reasons why curtain rules are put in place and make them aware of the dangers or consequences if those rules are not followed. If the behaviour continued I would discuss with the child their reasons for misbehaving and come up with a way to modify the activity so that the child is willing to participate safely and responsibly.
I would pull them aside from the group and give them a warning and if they kept misbehaving I would pull them from the activity the other kids were doing until he/she would listen.
I would explain to them why what I was telling them to do was important.
I would tell them to listen up. Then if that does not work I would give them 2 warnings. After 2 warnings I would sit them for a timeout. Then when I feel that the time is ready (ie 5 min) I would go and talk to them and try to find out why they were misbehaving and have them realize what they did.
I would take the child aside and try to dissuade them from this behaviour.
Talk to them, see what is going wrong with them, why is he/she acting that way.
I would ask the child to come to the side with me and I would cal my speak to them. I want to hear their side of the situation and whats wrong, and then explain to them that this isn't appropriate behaviour at camp.
Depending on how bad the situation was, I may pull them aside, or talk to them later, about how what their doing is not okay or distracting to the other campers. However, I would then try to adapt to the camper by saying, we can play games later, or there will be a time when you can do this ect..
I say hands on top that means stop.
A method I like that I have seen teachers use is redirecting everyone's attention by pointing out who is behaving. Saying things like "Oh, ______ is on their best behavior. ________ is also... Let's see who else..."
I would tell them what they are doing wrong and would ask them if they could please be respectful.
I would take the child aside and explain to them that if they cannot cooperate they will not be allowed to participate in the fun activity. Give them a warning first and if it continues, explain the consequences. The important thing is to never be threatening but to be strong and assertive in word choice. Punishment should never be the first resort.
I would first ask the child politely or try to convince them and see if they can change their behaviour however if they are not willing to cooperate, I'd have to use a more strict tone to get them to behave.
I would first begin with trying to discover the root cause of the misbehaving and see if that could be fixed before anything else is done. In my personal experience in this situation it is best to respond by trying to build a personal relationship with them and see if their needs can be met this way. Its important to understand that in this situation I would be expected to be the adult and as such realize that I may have to be more flexible and adjust my approach rather than trying to change the child. The easiest way to stop this from happening in the first place is to set clear rules long before conflict should arrive and be willing to make sacrifice in order to best serve the needs of everyone involved.
Pull the camper aside and talk to him, if that doesn't work speak with a division director.
I would first ask him to behave, then make the child sit closely to me/ help me with activities. During nap time or down time I would have a personal talk with the child and see what is causing them to misbehave.
Kids learn to be more creative and friendly and camp. They can be more social.
Communication is key - inform them of intolerable action right away so it is not encouraged and let them know of the consequences if they contunie to act out, give warning (3 strikes) punishment such as sitting out of a round of a game - if I need help get a supervisor, want the child to participate so that is an extreme.
I would put them aside and talk to them and see what's bothering them or what is the problem.
I would ask the child why they were doing that and then I will ask what they should have done, and after feeling they have gotten the message with some calm consulting, I will ask them to apologize to the person they have misbehaved towards.
I would ask why they were acting this way and figure a way to help the kids and try and make behave correctly and if that does work I would consider talking to the parent to see if they have specific ways to handle these situation so that can use the same method to not confuse the child.
Talk to him/her individually.
I would first identify the source of the problem. I would kindly ask why he is misbehaving. I would take him aside and explain that it could put him at risk.
I would tell the other children to wait for a second and walk over to the misbehaving child. I would try to speak to him or her and if that didn't work I'd hold his or her hand and bring him to the head counselor.
Off to the side talk about a solution.
I would take the kid aside and explain the rules that must be followed are. And if it continues I would take.
Ask them whats wrong why arent you listening.
I would seperate the student and discuss his behavior and figure out a solution to follow.
Bring the child closer to me and give clearer instructions.
I would give the child a choice to follow directions or get a consequence. Lots of times kids would rather comply than receive a consequence and merely misbehave to get attention.
Take them aside one on one and try to get to the root of behavior, they're not acting out for no reason. They're in want for attention and once you address that desire you can see if they can be successfully integrated into the group activity. If their misbehavior presents an immediate threat to either themselves or others, it would require immediate intervention and perhaps the suspension of participation in activities.
I would first know and understand if there is a camp policy on behvior if not I would start by giving a warning if there was no improvment I would pull the kid aside and have a conversation about the behavior and reiterate that it is unaceptable. If the behavior continued I would have them take a break either from the activity happening or just in general. Normally by this point kids will listen and follow directions if the behavior still continues I would take time away from future activities and if the child still misbehaves I would seek aid from a supervisor because there is no way for me to get mad and redirect the child.
Ask them whats wrong why arent they listening.
Give them a warning first and second time, then bring them aside from the group and ask them why theyre misbehaving and try to work it out. If they still perist, id bring them to a higher official.
I would address the child in private, opening discuss why the child is misbehaving (are there underlying emotions), come up with a strategy for better behavior in the future.
In this case I would take the child aside as I would not want to speak with them in front of other campers because children could get embarrassed quickly. Next I would talk to them in a gentle voice and ask them what the problem is and if there is a way I can solve it then I would. Speaking to the children gently normally worked for me in the past because I feel like if you raise your voice right away they will not open up to you about what is wrong.
Remind the child of the expectations/rules calmly then follow camp policy if they continue.
Pull them aside from the group and ask why they are feeling the way they are feeling, and explain to them why their actions aren't okay.
Tell them what they did wrong and make sure they know not to do it and everyonw will have more fun if we follow the rules.
I would take the child aside and tell them that they get one more chance to follow directions and if they do not then they will have to sit out or go to the office.
If a child were to be in a disagreement, I would separate the two children, talk to them separately, and If the argument does not dissolve, I would contact my supervisor/ their parents. if the child is not following instructions, I would talk to them separately and let them know that if they cannot behave, they will not be able to participate at all.
Depends on the situation and age. For example if we are playing a game and he is not following the rules I would take him aside and have him set out for a short duration of the game. During this time I would ask him if he understood the rules and have him explain them back to me. After a short while I'd let him keep playing. If he kept misbehaving. I would take him out of the game permanently, depending how much time was left in the activity.
Talk to them on one side and warn them that they would not tKe part if they continued to misbehave.
Ask them whats wrong and why arent they listening.
I would give them a warning that if they misbehave agian they are sstaying by my side for the rest of the day until they proved to me that they could handle their selves.
I would initially ask them to settle down, before descreetly taking them aside and enquiring as to what the problem was and I'd try to fix the problem, if there was one. Otherwise I would talk to the child and calm them down, and lay out the consequences if they do not follow instructions - for example, not being able to participate in the next activity, whilst encouraging them to behave.
Talk to the child one-on-one and see why they are acting out.
Try not to be angry. Talk to the child and try and figure out the cause of his/her mischievousness and advice him/her to refrain from such behaviors. If the child does not listen he/ she will be reported to the camp coordinator.
Pull them aside and speak with them.
Duct tape them to a pitbull.
Tell them to stop and divert their attention.
I would ask them why they were doing so and try to make them realize how they have caused a disruption in the group. If this hasn't calmed them down, I would ask them to not participate in the activity until the rely ready to make right decisions.
I would calmly ask them again to listen to instructions and help them get back on track.
Last year I went to this program that my school offered for a semester and we had many opportunities to lead our classmates. There were grade 4's that came to the property in March and we were leaders for them for a week, and we played games with them, we dealt with situations that a leader would deal with and during the day we took them to stations across the property that taught them things.
Camping experience, encouraging, patient, organized, happy.
Make it clear that there were rules in place and that if they arent followed they wont be able to continue with th activity.
I would sternly but nicely ask him to obey and what he was doing is unacceptable.
I would talk to them face to face tell them the rules of listening and the respect for others to learn and if the child continues to misbehave I would then ask them to stand out of the activity until they are willing to co-operate.
I think I can speeak with him a explain that he can need to change his attitude because there are people here how wanna be the best in the camp and if he does not want to pay attention I can tell him that he doesn't need to stay there and ask him please let me work with who want to work.
I would first tell them that they have to pay attention and if they dont then I would try to reward them after they do something right and if that does not work then I would have to tel a adult.
I would ask them to stop and if they continue to misbehave then I would ask why they're behaving that way and see if I can come up with a solution, but if I can't handle the situation on my own I would not be afraid to ask for help.
I would talk to them separately about what they have done and tell them how to improve this attitude while also informing them of the consequences if it were to happen again.
I would pull them aside and do my best to resolve the matter.
First ensuring the safety of the group, I would bring the child aside and state that there are rules in place that must be followed in order to participate. I would ask if there was any other issue the child was having and possibly find a way to modify the activities so the behaviour would not occur again.
I would give them a warning the first time and if they contionued behaving badly I would sit them out of an activity or not allow them to have canteen.
3 strikes rule.I would stay calm and use the 3 strike rule. If I have to acknowledge poor behavior three times then they will need to sit out of the activity and take a moment to think about their behavior.
I would call them to talk to them to have a one on one with them and ask them if they're okay because sometimes there are reasons behind why they might be misbehaving and see if its a issue that can be fixed and tell them that here at camp if instructions are given they must be followed and warn them.
At Centre Stage Theatre Camp I worked under the supervision of a certified teacher and he taught me to remove kids from a situation and tell them they would lose a privilege such as your lines in the play if they continued misbehaviour such as refusing to learn their lines. The group also lost privileges if we saw the evidence of misbehaviour but the culprit did not come forward for example someone destroyed some folding chairs that were placed backstage and we told the kids if the person responsible did not come forward then they would all lose the privilege of using chairs at the end of the week.
Give the child a warning and remind them that there are rules in place. If the child continues to misbehave or follow instructions, they won't be able to continue with the activity.
Let it go the first time as long as it doesn't disrupt the others, then pull them aside have a talk with them, try to figure out if I can tell whats making him misbeahv if still doesn't listen then should be on time out.
I would kindly ask them to follow instructions and guide them to do the right thing. If they continue misbehaving, I would bring them to the Camp Director.
I would take them aside and explain why misbehaving can not happen at camp and how unsafe it can be for the other campers and first give a warning and next talk to their adult leader about taking away some time at Sally or the pool.
Give the child fair warning ahead of time, let them know what consequences there will be if they continue behaving this way. Then, I would do what the camp policy is, whether thats time out, a demerit system, or pulling them aside and explaining to them why they are being disruptive. Anything to avoid chaos and taking away from the other camper's experience, anything to avoid them putting themselves or other campers in harm's way.
I would pull them aside and ask them why they re acting this way and and give them a warning and if it continued then enforce a punishment.
Warning/talk time out take away an activity talk to parents.
Id ask them nicely to listen, so for example with a smile say "hey buddy can you listen up for a sec and do that later?" Because camp isnt a place to be yelling at kids they're there to have fun. If they still dont listen maybe I'd talk to them one on one and again ask them nicely to follow instructions. If I still found they werent listening and it was severe id take them to the section head.
I would pull him or her aside so that I can speak to him/her calmly about the rules. If they continue to misbehave, I would take him/her out of the activity.
Remove from the situation, explain what their doing worng and have them sit quietly alone to regroup.
Take them aside and explain to them that their actions were not only being harmful for themselves, but also for those around them. Explain to them that rules and instructions were in place for a reason and that it was not fair that they were misbehaving while the other kids followed the rules. I would tell them that they would get another chance to follow the rules and that if they were unable to do so, then they would have to sit out from an activity.
I would sit down with them one on one and make sure they know they are loved and that behavior doesnt define who they are. I would casually ask if they want to talk about it, ask simple questions to make sure they arent being bullied or someone else isnt causing the behavior to spark. Basically, I would find the underlying issue. And then after the talk about it all, I would make sure the kid knows that just because certain things happen to us, doesnt mean we cant act out in the same way. We have to control ourselves. So I would let them know that there will be discipline in the future, but that I am grateful they opened up and talked to me because from an outside perspective, I can only see the behavior, not what is causing it, which makes a huge difference in how it should be handled. I want to make sure they know they are loved.
I would check-in with the child while the rest of the group pursues the activity to see what was causing the misbehaviour. From there I would see how to best modify the activity so that the child will participate in some facet.
Well I'd confront him about his actions and talk to him. Ask him if there's anything wrong and go from there. I'd sit him down and talk to him and when he/she feels ready to join back with others, I'd just tell him to relax and behave better.
I would try to redirect the child back to the activity, and if that does not work I would follow whatever discipline procedures the camp has in place.
I would probably tell him/her not to do that in the moment if it is a simple thing and if he keeps doing it then I would tell him/her that I will take away a privilege if they continue to misbehave. But if it is a big issue like bullying or something than I would sit down with that child and review the "rules" we set so that everyone could have a great week at camp. I would ask what bullying (ect.) is to them and if they just described what they were doing then I would ask why they did it and tell them not to do it again.
This would be somthing I would want to teach instructors how to handle and then if they were still having problems they could come to me if some type of behaviour was persistant or out of control. Ideally you would want to address the behaviour as soon as it happened. It really depends what type of behaviour I mean if there was a child talking while I was trying to take I would start by walking over to them while still talking and the intimidation of making the child aware that I am aware would hopefully be enough for them to stop talking. If the taalking persisited I would maybe make a statement like ok can everyone please stop talking so I can explain the exercise. If the talking persisited I would then go tell the other children to for example go pass the soccer ball while I talked to jimmy and warned for the first time. If another warning was necessary I would then give a timeout and if the timeout didn't work I would bring it to attention of the supervisior. 5 step approach - 1 rein forecemnet you want to say positive things to those doing the right thing 2 - proximity - you may want to stand closer to the child misbehaving while you compliment good behaviour of another child. 3 - warning - verbal if they keep doin behaviour they will begiven a time out 4 - first timeout - they can come back in when they are ready to behave 5 - 2nd timeout the instructors says when they can come back in - beyond this take it to the supervisor and maybe supervisor can entertain them for a while until parent comes - if its been very severre call parents and ask for them to be picked up.
I would pull them aside and talk to them about what happened and talk to them about how they could have better handled the situation and give them another chance.
I would talk to them away from the other children and ask them why they are misbehaving and explain to them why their behaviour is bad. Then, I would give them another chance to behave properly and if they ruin it, they will have to sit out for a while and calm down.
I would give them warnings and tell them what they are doing that is not okay. I would then tell them what they need to do to fix it and what will happen if the problem arises again. If it continues to be a problem I give them a small punishment.
I would ask, "help me understand what happened"
If a child was struggling with behavior issues, depending on the severity of the situation, I would pull the child aside and have a one on one chat with them and ask them why they did what they did, and explain to them why their behavior was wrong and what they could have done to avoid it, and explain to them that with their actions comes consequences at camp and through life.
First I would make them sit out of whatever activity we were doing for a certain amount of time until he/she was ready to join back in, if he/she continues to misbehave I would then bring them to a camp supervisor where they will be told about the conseauences of there behaviour]
Give the child a warning and if the misbehaving continues, not let them participate for a few minutes.
Take them away from the group to talk to them privately about following instructions.
Tell them what they did wrong and not to do it again.
I would, first, ask them to stop doing whatever they were doing. If they continued, I would take away a privilege.
I would act calm. I would first, listen to their point and find out the reason why they are acting out. I would then calmly tell them why what they are doing is not ok and what the consequences of their behavior are. It goes over much better, I do this with my little cousins. If you get mad at them, the more they will rebel against you and it is not healthy for both parties. When you explain why what the kid is doing wrong, they will understand. They more likely they are to understand why, the most likely they will understand why not to do it.
I would send him to the office or make him sit out of an activitie.
I would take them aside separately and discuss their behavior with them. I would also give them special tasks to do. If need be, I would talk to their parents about the situation.
I would take him to the side and talk to him instead of getting on to him in front of everyone.
I would talk with the child one-on-one to try to figure out WHY. Misbehavior always comes back to WHY. Are they having trouble with some of the other kids? Are they missing home or their other friends? Are there problems in another aspect of their lives? Do they have a problem with me? Whatever it is, getting them in an informal setting where we can talk about it is key to resolving the issue.
First I would bring the child over to the side, away from the other child, I would kneel down to the level of where the child is standing and talk to him/her in a quiet zone. Explain to him/her why the situation/misbehaving happened. I would obviously listen to what the child would have to say first and then explain to him/her that what they did was not appropriate and tell them what could happen if the child were to misbehave again. But making sure I am using a calm voice, making sure the child is not uncomfortable or become unstable with their emotions.
I would ask the child to stop what they are doing and warn them that they are going to be punished if it happens again and If they do misbehave again I would ask them to sit out for the remainder of the activity and to let me know in 10 min if they understand why they are sitting out.
I would take them aside and calmly explain to them what they did wrong and give them positive ways to fix the issue.
First, a warning. Then I would take them to the side and have a talk. If that didn't work I would ask another counselor for help.
I would stay calm with the child. If possible take him to the side and talk with him. If continued sit the child out of the activity. Talk to the child again. If continued after that would have to get camp directors involved and talk to parents.
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