Ah, the age-old question: how do we help our children (and ourselves for that matter) with conflict resolution? Teaching effective methods of conflict resolution can start early in life. Respecting the child is a key tenet of the Montessori Method. Teaching effective communication can be tricky given you're also responsible for guiding the child in more challenging circumstances that may require discipline. There are conflict resolution techniques parents, teachers, and caretakers can embrace to pave a smoother path for a young child.
“What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce
Must Use Ideas for Conflict Resolution
- Model self-regulation by taking deep breaths to calm down before resolving conflict
- Comfort & include the child
- “I see that Chris is crying. What should you do to make him feel better?”
- “What happened when you bumped Chris?”
- “I noticed he fell over when you pushed him.”
- Model gentle touch
- Ask curiosity questions: “Why is the bike not working?”
- Redirect the child to purposeful activity without avoiding the conflict
- Don't force a child to share, instead consider asking questions such as:
- “When do you want to share?”
- “When can Tommy have a turn?”
- “How will Tommy know when you are done?”
- Take the time to teach kids
- Role play with puppets or your child's favorite figurines
- Find a calm time to visit an earlier difficult moment. Don't address the issue in the heat of the moment.
- Read books together and invite dialogue. You might want to check out Books to Help An Angry Child.
- Research ways to Teach Kindness to Kids
- Take time for gratitude
- Share an appreciation with a child each day at mealtime or bedtime
- Create a gratitude jar to add to and access every day
- Check out these children's books to teach gratitude
Conflict Resolution Resources
- Helping Toddlers Resolve Conflict bt Janet Lansbury
- Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen
- Setting the Peace Table by I Heart Montessori
- Teaching Peace in a Montessori Classroom
- The Peace Table by Fairy Dust Teaching
- Problem Solving Techniques from How We Montessori
Kids are ripe for learning effective methods of communication. Guiding them is not easy because it requires looking internally before we can move forward helping children. These approaches take months and years of practice before truly kicking in and feeling natural (at least for me). So, hang in there, and let me know how it goes.