This month, we’re exploring ways to maintain consistency in conflict management from school to home.
As young children grow and develop during their first five years of life, they’re gaining a vast amount of knowledge. Along with all the new information they are taking in, they’re also faced with challenges and conflicts that they must learn to navigate.
Learning Care Group, the parent company of our beloved community of schools, is passionate about supporting children to help them build empathy, develop problem-solving skills, and maintain positive social-emotional development. Conflicts can arise from a range of situations from testing boundaries in the younger classrooms to sharing toys and resources in the older classrooms. Although conflicts may differ among age groups, there are many ways to support your child as they face some of these same challenges at home.
To support building empathy, try these ideas:
- Establish a secure, loving relationship with your child. This is important in establishing the relationships they will eventually build with others. The more accepted and understood they feel, the more they learn how to accept and understand others.
- Read stories about feelings. Doing so allows you to connect the story with real-life experiences. As you read, reflect on what is happening, how that would make your child feel, and how they can help someone who may feel that way.
- Validate your child’s emotions. Typically, when children feel strong emotions, we try to fix those emotions and make them feel better. Instead, acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings to let them know that it is okay to feel that way sometimes.
- Empathize with your child. When you show them empathy, they’re learning how to be empathetic with others. For example, you can say something like, “Are you feeling afraid of the dark? The dark can be scary. Use this nightlight. I can also sit with you until you feel better.”
To support problem-solving skills, take these steps:
- Help them determine the problem.
- Think about solutions.
- Determine what would happen when you use a solution.
Would it be safe? Would it be fair? How would everyone feel?
- Try a solution!
To support social-emotional skills, try these ideas:
- Introduce the skill. For example, show your child what it means to share a toy.
- Model the skill. While playing, model sharing materials between you and your child.
- Practice the skill and acknowledge its use. For example, encourage children to share during different situations. When they do, you can say, “It makes me so happy that you shared your toy with me!”
- Create playful opportunities. Use puppets and put on a puppet show to model sharing or any other lessons you want to encourage.
As we continue to instill these skills in the classroom, creating consistency between school and home will allow children to develop these behaviors that are critical to ensuring they’re set up for success in the future!