If you have children then you know they are bound to need a little help when it comes to navigating conflicts with their peers. As children grow, they begin to work on their communication skills as well as learn how to cooperate with others. There are a few ways you can step in as a parent when play is interrupted by conflict to help your kids come to a happy solution. Try out these suggested strategies to guide your children through conflict resolution:
Acknowledge Each Child:
Children always like to point out that you’re playing favorites, especially siblings. That’s why it’s so important to validate each child engaged in the conflict. Be sure to address both parties by repeating each side of the story without judgment or interruptions from the other child. Equal attention will go a long way in bolstering children’s belief that they are being treated fairly.
Refrain From Giving Solutions:
It can be hard not to march up and tell children exactly how to solve a problem. After all, it makes perfect sense to you how to reason out what’s causing the problem and then how to resolve it as you are an objective third party. However, by giving children solutions instead of allowing them to reach them on their own, you are depriving them of a learning opportunity where they can grow both in communication skills and in social emotional development. Suggesting that children should come to a solution is always a great place to start, as you are showing your confidence in them to reach a solution. By repeating the point that each child comes to, children will take your reaffirmation as a means to change what is being stated. Also, it helps when your tone is devoid of pesky emotions children are sure to employ, such as anger, jealousy, and pride.
Suggest Dramatic Play to Handle Conflict:
Sometimes, children need help reaching a solution. Though you don’t want to tell them exactly how to solve their problems, you can provide resources for them to figure it out themselves. Toys serve as a great visual representation of the problems children find themselves engaged in. Having a way to act out what they are feeling through dramatic play not only forces the child to stop and think about their actions but to also express what they are feeling through a doll, puppet, or action figure. Here are a few toys options to use for dramatic play:
- Pretend & Play Family – Caucasian
- Wizard of Oz 12” Washable Cloth Dolls
- Animal Friends Puppet Set of 8
- Mini Trucks
Finally here are suggested steps on how to use toys to handle conflict:
- Have children list out their problems first.
- Discuss why these situations bother each child.
- Have your children pick a toy for role play.
- Act out solutions to problems mentioned above.
- Pro Tip: Emphasize that children should use words to express how they feel as opposed to issuing blame. Blame leads to conflict.
We hope you found these tips helpful! Have parenting tips for calming your children’s conflicts? Share them with us on our Facebook page.