Unit 8.2 Problem solving

In most cases, school-age children can solve their disagreements with friends if they are taught a few simple guidelines. Teaching children to solve problems will allow them to become more socially competent.

Sometimes it seems children argue over every little thing.
They are in the process of learning communication and social skills, such as negotiation and compromise.

In a negotiation no one wins or loses and solutions are acceptable to all concerned. In a negotiation all concerned have equal input and all ideas are considered equally. Children, not the child care provider, decide on solutions, stick to it, or renegotiate.

The child care provider supports the children through the negotiation process and allows lots of time.

Use active listening when appropriate; then

  • Help children identify the problem, focus on the problem
  • Encourage children to contribute ideas, talk to each other
  • Restate all ideas in a positive, understanding way
  • Help children decide on the idea they like best, or think of others
  • Help children figure out how to put their solution into practice
  • Reinforce the process when they have solved the problem

Avoid forced sharing, forced taking turns, forced saying “I am sorry”, asking “who had it first,” blaming. Encourage using words, talking to each other.