Use Your Words!
Posted April 4, 2011on:
Try to imagine the following…..
Two toddlers are squabbling over a favorite toy. There is a lot of yelling from both of them. They are engaged in sort of “tug of war” with the idea that the strongest one will win this battle and the toy will be theirs. You run over to them because you know that sooner or later there will be pushing, possibly biting, crying and most likely: a broken toy.
Change the above scenario to children fighting over a seat in the car, two preschoolers arguing over where the legos go on a tower, two young school-agers quarreling over one available swing, or two older school-agers in a heated disagreement in a soccer game.
In any of these scenes one or both of these children are yours or one is your child and the other is your child’s friend.
When we see our children, at any age, involved in a conflict, it is natural to want to “run & rescue”. It is also natural to be annoyed at behavior that we don’t approve of. But the fact is that children argue, disagree, and, at times, behave in ways we don’t like.
- If children are in immediate danger then, yes, “run & rescue”, if not, be patient.
- Teach children to use their words instead of their bodies. Very young children can learn to tell another child “No push!” Older toddlers often require adults to model a solution. i.e. “Tell John that you are playing with the truck now” or “Tell Annie that she can look at the book when you are done.” Very often a young child can be directed away from the conflict when you offer them a similar toy or one that you know they like. Celebrate success!
- Many times preschoolers and young school-agers can work things out to their satisfaction when we give them time. This empowers them to look at conflicts as problem solvers. They learn that successful play involves give and take. While it takes time to learn that things don’t always go their way – children also learn that they can choose to stay or leave and start a new game and keep their friends either way. As adults, our job is to keep a watchful eye and offer ideas if needed.
- Older school-agers have a lot going on, there are significant changes in every aspect of their life! A united front of family, school and community is critical for children to draw on strong models of friendship, tolerance and strategies for conflict resolutions. Be aware of everything that points your child toward personal and social success.
“The child’s first and most influential teacher is the parent.” P. Mayfield
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director