We hear them shouting and we come running. Then, we hear, “He said, he did” or “She said, she did.” How can we help them solve their problems and play together? Here are some strategies you might try from Kids and Conflict:
- Stay calm. Get down to the children's level and talk to them calmly.
- Let them know you understand their feelings. Describe what you see that they're feeling. Don't ask questions until children are calmer.
- Find out information. Ask "what" questions to find out what happened to make them upset.
- Repeat what you have found out. Use clear statements to retell what you heard them say.
- Ask for ideas to solve the problem. Have the children offer ideas and solutions to the problem.
- Stay close by for support. After the children agree to the solution, stay close at hand to be sure things stay calm.
- Praise them for playing well together. Make sure they know you're proud of them for solving the problem for themselves.
- Conflict Resolution with Young Children. Kids and Conflict provides strategies and resources for conflict resolution for children.
- Conflict Resolution for Preschoolers from Teachers College at Columbia University has some interesting conflict resolution activities for kids and suggests ways to help children respect others.
- Bibliography of Peacemaking from Head Start has an annotated list of books for teachers, caregivers, and children.
Reprinted with the permission of the Department of Health and Human Services.