Time needed: 10 to 15 min.

Why? Banking Time is a brilliant method to build up relationships to your children. If you have to face children with discipline problems and behavioural issues mostly the background of those is a not existing or unbalanced relationship. This Banking Time Method is supporting to build up a positive relationship to those children. The name Banking Time is based on the point that the teacher and the child investing time in their relationship which pays out later in the classroom.

When? 2-3 times a week about 10-15 minutes. Best is to use time outside of the normal school activity, before or after the school day is finish. You can use the waiting time for the pickup of the child or time which is extra scheduled in the morning before the general lessons are starting.

How? Choose a child with whom your relationship has been challenging or strained. Explain to the child that you are concerned abut how you and the child are getting along and thats why you want to know the child better. Schedule the sessions 2-3 times a week around 10-15 minutes, regular, predictable and free of distraction. Don’t choose times during the child’s favourite activity time. Choose a quiet place and prepare some age-appropriate and suitable material to play with or work with. Mostly a good decision is to prepare several things and let the child choose what the child want to to. Banking Time is no teaching time.

1. Observation: Now let the child start to play and you just observe, take mental notes of the child’s words, feelings and behaviour.

2. Narrating is the next step you should implement. Narrating is not teaching, no advise, directing, questioning or even positive reinforcement. Narrating is: reflection, imitation and you can use the sportscasting technique.

  • Narrating-Reflection: listen to the child and repeat them back in a slightly different way. example: “play-dough is my favourite” you may say “you really like play-dough”
  • Narrating- Imitation: Imitation is a non-verbal narrating tool. You watch the child carefully and follow his or her lead. Example: if the child is starts stacking blocks, you start stacking blocks too.
  • Narrating-Sportscaster Technique: carefully watch the child and describe the action you see. Example: if the child is organising counting bears by colours, you might say “I see you are putting all of the blue bears together and now you are putting all the green ones together.”

3. Labelling: Finally, the technique of labelling is when you communicate out loud what you notice about the child’s feeling and emotions.

Make sure that the Banking Time is planned scheduled and executed. Stick to the duration you fixed in the beginning, Banking Time should not be longer than 10-15 minutes, the best is you use a clock which is always ringing in the end, than finish the banking time with ordering the used material.

Any risks? Banking Time is a tool to build up a positive relationship to your children, and if you follow very consistently the methodology instructions there is nearly no risk involved. The critical point is the Labelling. Labelling should be always very carefully and considered implemented. Wrong labelling could causes disastrous consequences. But if the labelling is executed in that careful considered way, it is a very strong tool to build up a closed positive relationship which will pay out in the classroom to everyone, the teacher, the classmates and the child itself. 

See also the following post about Banking Time with detail descriptions about the Methodology: How to deal with children with behavioural issues?