When It's Time to Settle Down

Illustration by Darren Thompson

Cub Scout den and pack leaders chip in with their thoughts on how to get young boys to get serious.

Den Chief W.M. leads games for his dad's Cub Scout den, but he has trouble getting the boys to settle down for serious activities, and he asked what other leaders would do.

I would suggest using the Cub Scout sign. Just use the hand gesture, though; it should be enough without shouting, “Signs up.” Also, make it clear that you won’t be doing anything until the boys settle down and listen. And follow through on this!

Wolf Den Leader M.C.
Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

Maybe listening is something you need to train your Cub Scouts to do. Teach them that listening means looking at the speaker with their hands quiet and no talking. Get the parents involved, and get the boys to monitor each other.

Tanana, Ark.

Let the Cub Scouts help set the routine as much as possible. Giving kids ownership of their environment, whether in Scouts or the classroom, will make your job much easier. This will also ease their transition to Boy Scouts.

Olympia, Wash.

At the beginning of the year I handed each Tiger Cub a single, black tiger tooth and some lacing to make a necklace. At each meeting, a boy who is in uniform, has his handbook, and is on time receives three pony beads for his necklace. I use additional tiger teeth for special rewards. The boys love to see their necklace grow. You could do the same thing and reward beads for good behavior, paying attention, or doing a Good Turn.

Tiger Cub Den Leader A.C.
Lake Oswego, Ore.

Ask the boys what they consider to be enough time for the different parts of the meeting and how they think they should act for each one. If they have some investment in these decisions, they will be more likely to adopt the proper frame of mind for the different aspects of a meeting.

Scoutmaster C.G.
Kennett Square, Pa.

Give them an adjustment time as you go from one activity to another. For example, you could say, “OK, one more game and then we need to get down to business.” The last game should be an activity that doesn’t require a lot of energy—no running or high-energy games. Also, your father should make it clear that if the boys can’t get serious, they may not get the game time they like.

Pack Committee Member J.S.
San Diego, Calif.

When I was a den leader, we had the Cub Scouts develop rules of behavior for den meetings. If they acted up, a gentle reminder of their own rules usually had them listening to the adults. We posted their rules on a poster and had it at every den meeting. Eventually, we didn’t need the poster.

Assistant Scoutmaster P.R.
Fort Collins, Colo.

For the BSA's take on this issue, check out the "Den Code of Conduct" in Chapter 16 of the Cub Scout Leader Book.

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