Conflict Resolution : A Mommy Fun Fact

ParentingAll Ages14 Comments

Jill’s the wonderful mom behind the blog, A Mom With A Lesson Plan.  Jill approached me to do a guest post swap on our blogs. I had to take her up on the offer, I absolutely adore her blog! (Read as: check out her blog asap!)

Today, I’m over at A Mom With A Lesson Plan giving a quick tip for camping boredom. Building structures out of an item quite often found while camping. But often its not available to children in their ordinary play.

I particularly love the Mommy Fun Facts found at A Mom With a Lesson Plan and find them actually quite helpful! I asked Jill to consider expanding on one of her current Mommy Fun Facts (I particularly like numbers 6, 7 and 10), but instead of just writing about one of those, Jill came up with another Mommy Fun Fact – #11!

Read on!

I am so excited to be here at hands on: as we grow! Jamie and I sort of stumbled into each other on the forums we frequent. And I am glad we did! What really caught my eye about this site are all of the fantastic movement activities that she provides for Henry. Like this one and this one. It is clear that we both have boys that are on the move…and I love the way she encourages Henry’s spirit. (Lucky, lucky kid!)

One of my favorite things to write about are the little “mommy tricks” that I think make life with a preschool child easier, more fun, and a bit more educational! I call them Mommy Fun Facts. When Jamie showed interest in #1-10. I thought about updating some of the old ones, but ultimately decided to come up with a Mommy Fun Fact #11 instead. I’ll let you be the first to see. (Lucky, lucky you!)

Mommy Fun Fact #11 : Conflict Resolution

I have no idea where I learned this, and I am certainly not taking credit for inventing this BRILLIANT strategy…but I have been using conflict resolution for so long that I consider myself an expert on the subject. Trust me this is one Mommy Fun Fact you will want to memorize!!! I even made a handy guide for you to print out.

If you have more than one child, you know that conflict is bound to happen. (I know Jamie, George is far too young to be jumping into conflict resolution…but it’ll be here before you know it!) Don’t tune me out if you’ve got an only child though, the beauty of conflict resolution is that once you’ve mastered it, it will work with any conflict. (Kid vs. Neighbor, Kid vs. Toy, Kid vs. Situation…even dare I say Adult vs. Adult!)

Conflict Resolution

Step 1: Remove item from EVERYBODY involved. (This is really, really important.) If the item is big, like a swing or bike then everyone should be scooted away from it. Kids tend to feel ownership over anything they are physically touching.

Step 2: Identify the Problem. You’ll want to help the kids break down the problem into simple terms and hit the root of the problem. You can do this by simply ignoring emotional arguments and asking direct questions. “Who wants this shovel? Oh, I see. You want this shovel. Does anyone else want this shovel? Ah, she wants the shovel too. So the problem is that you want this shovel and she wants this shovel. Is that the problem?” Once the first kid agrees, clear it with the second kid. “Is the problem that you want this shovel and he wants this shovel?”

Step 3: Find a solution. As adults we are really quick to jump in with solutions to our kids’ problems…I mean we are older and wiser. If you give this a try, use patience (and of course bite your tongue) I promise you will be so impressed with the brilliant solutions young kids can come up with. All they need is a little guidance and some time to think. “Now that we know what the problem is, all we have to do is find a solution.” Direct your question to one kid first. “What solution can you think of for this problem?”

Step 4: Repeat the solution. It doesn’t matter what your kid says, it’s a solution. Might not be a working solution, but it is an idea that should be respected. “Oh, okay. Your solution is that you play with the shovel all day and he digs with his hands.” Once she confirms that is what she suggested turn to the other kid. “She suggested that she will use the shovel all day and you can dig with your hands…does that work for you?”

Step 5: Another solution. Because the two children are working together to solve a problem they always have the right to refuse a solution. It needs to be done respectfully. “No, that idea does not work for me.” You will then acknowledge their right to decline the offer, and ask them to offer up their own ideas. “That idea doesn’t work for you. What solution can you think of?”

***Important note. This part of the process can go on for a long time, but the outcome is worth the effort. If you come to a stand off and solutions are not coming, simply take a break. “I’ll tell you what, I have to go over here for a bit, you keep thinking. When you have a solution that works for both of you I would love to hear it.” MAKE SURE TO TAKE THE ITEM WITH YOU!***

Step 6: The solution. Eventually one of two things will happen; one kid will decide they don’t care that much about the item, or one kid will come up with a solution that brings an instant smile to their face. (They realize they’re brilliant!) Once the other kid agrees all that’s left is the confirmation.

Step 7: Repeat the problem and solution… just to make sure everyone understands. “So the problem was that he wanted the shovel and she wanted the shovel. The solution that you both agree on is that he will play with the shovel until his hole is done and then he will bring it over to you. Is that correct?”

The beauty is that since the kids came up with the solution they are far more likely to stick to it. You should still pay attention and make sure both kids are sticking to the agreement but 9.5 times out of 10 everyone will walk away happy. (Lucky, Lucky Mommy!)
P.S.  Don’t forget to stop by my little blog to see what Jamie added to our camping lesson plan.

Jill is a stay at home mom who loves to learn…and teach. I started to share some of the ideas that I really enjoy with my kids. I want Moms (and Dads) to know that adding a little learning to playtime is fun and easy.

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  1. Kathy at ChildWise says

    Thanks for sharing this strategy in easy to grasp – and do – steps! As a former preschool teacher, with lots of experience with conflicts between kids, I can tell you they work! I loved that you pointed out that kids CAN come up with solutions – it's just that they aren't given the opportunity very often. What's really fun is when they become so practiced at this conflict resolution process that they do it without your help – THAT is sweet!!

  2. Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan says

    Donna… You made my day!

    Rachelle… Thank you for your support=)

    Michelle… Thank you!

    Kathy… When our preschool was up and running I loved watching the kids do conflict resolution on their own. We often heard a pair of children shout out "We have a problem." And a third child come running from across the yard. "I've got it!" They were so good at it they could assist others. Thank you for your comment=)

  3. Callie says

    This comes at the PERFECT time as I am finding that most of my day I am dealing with this kind of thing with my 4 and 2 year olds. I am very thankful for this post!

  4. Debbie says

    Seriously brilliant.
    Awesome for children — equal opportunity for adults, communities and the ever wider world.

    What an awesome resource for parents & teachers. I think this is the beginning of a book.

    Simple is good, but expanding on each concept could be a real winner!!! Particularly with the thought of giving focus to this concept as it relates to the "bully" epidemic/concerns.

  5. huana says

    "The beauty is that since the kids came up with the solution they are far more likely to stick to it." – I hope so!Tnx for sharing,this is such a good advice,I'll try!

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