“It’s Mine!” Conflict Resolution for Toddlers
Conflict resolution is a subject that should be taught to kids at an early age to help them better resolve problems in the future. However, for young kids, such as toddlers, it can be a tricky thing to teach. Scholastic provides more specific tips for each age group, but the following five items are ways to reach out to toddlers about problem-solving.
Remain Calm at All Times
If you get frustrated with toddlers, they will be able to pick up on it. Therefore, when you handle a conflict situation with them, you must do your best to remain calm, or at least appear calm to them. Take a deep breath and talk to them as you would normally, no matter how unreasonable they’re being. They will react much better to someone that talks to them normally instead of yelling at them. Speak in a soft voice to ensure that the situation does not escalate because if you get angry at them, they will likely just yell back.
Explain Conflict and Emotions in a Way They’ll Understand
Since conflict resolution is a newer concept to toddlers, you will have to talk to them and help them in a way that they can understand. Discuss emotions with them and use related facial expressions to help them learn from these situations. Then, encourage them to share their emotions. Don’t pick sides, but instead listen to each child’s explanation and do your best to make sure all the kids that are involved feel understood.
Encourage Kind Words, Such as ‘Please’
‘Please’ is a great word to teach toddlers to help them learn to better resolve their conflicts. Repeatedly remind them to use ‘please’ instead of just taking a toy from someone else. If they become familiar with ways to nicely ask for things, then this could also help them avoid conflicts.
Help Generate Ideas on How to Solve the Problem
Instead of taking over the situation and telling them exactly how to solve it, you should allow them to come up with some ideas themselves. Ask them how they think the issue should be solved and help them work through it. Don’t immediately take their attention away from the object that started the argument because it can be part of a valuable learning experience for them. Teaching toddlers to solve conflicts on their own can help them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Redirect to a New Activity
If you have tried all other methods to resolve the conflict and they are still arguing, an easy way to fix it is to redirect their attention. Play with a new toy instead to show them how fun the other objects can be. If they can be distracted and redirected to a different object, then the fight will likely be forgotten. However, don’t use this method every time something goes wrong without at least trying to teach them the basics of conflict resolution first.
While it may be tempting to yell or get frustrated with toddlers that don’t get along, it is not the best method to improve their skills. Always take advantage of learning experiences with young kids and do what you can to prevent these issues from happening again in the future.