Learning to resolve conflicts constructively without resorting to angry fighting is one of the most important skills any child, or for that matter any adult, can learn. At U-GRO Learning Centres, we take every opportunity to engage children in learning about social skills and interaction techniques, helping them to learn to express their opinions in conflicts without overriding or disrespecting others.
Preschool is the perfect time to start learning conflict resolution, since these years are when many children encounter people outside of their families for the first time. Here are a few ways to help preschoolers learn conflict resolution strategies:
- Help them verbalize their feelings. None of us are born with the vocabulary to explain our feelings and opinions to others. Show children pictures of faces with different expressions and ask them to explain what they think the person depicted is feeling. This will help them learn that everyone has feelings and that they are possible to explain in a calm manner.
- Practice conflict scenarios. It’s much harder to intervene once an actual conflict has begun than to teach children the skills to manage one ahead of time. Come up with an example scenario for two children to act out in front of the class. For example, tell them to pretend they both want to play with the same toy. Then, ask them to describe their feelings and provide productive solutions to the scenario, like taking turns or flipping a coin to see who will get the toy first.
- Model good behavior. When you find yourself in conflict with a student or another teacher, be sure to handle it calmly and rationally to provide a good model of conflict solving for your students.