Today’s word is Conflict.
With kids, there’s bound to be conflict. Add siblings and it’s almost guaranteed. Out on the playground, in play groups, and even at home, there are plenty of times that situations occur where children need to make a choice in order to either make the problem escalate or be diffused. The hardest part is for them to learn the steps they can pick to solve the conflict.
It’s important to teach the kids the difference between what is a big and a small conflict and how to handle each one.
Small conflicts are things that are inconvenient, cause frustration or irritation, make you feel embarrassed or angry, and can usually be resolved with an easy step/choice. Some examples are when another kid takes the toy you are playing with, or yells at you, or won’t let you play with them.
Big conflicts are more serious – things like bullying, illegal activities, or where others are getting hurt. These are the situations where kids need to learn how to go directly to an adult for help.
Many years ago, I was introduced to a little frog named Kelso. Kelso offers a great wheel of choices that kids can pick from when dealing with situations:
- wait and cool off
- walk away
- make a deal
- talk it out
- share and take turns
- tell them to stop
- walk away
- go to another game
Not every situation is appropriate for every conflict, but they are great to start with when needing to figure out what steps to take.
Instead of waiting for situations to come up and deal with on the spot, role play with your kids various scenarios and give them a chance to practice what they are learning in a safe place – with chances for discussions on how things would make them feel and what choice would be best for each situation.
If you would like to use Kelso in your home, visit their parent page: http://kelsoschoice.com/community/parent-page/ – there are printable editions of the wheel to colour and learn with – in both the Kelso edition and a version that is intended for the older grade levels. Be sure to check out their “Bug Out” free stuff page that has games, crafts, and other goodies too!
How do you teach your kids how to handle conflicts? What has worked and what doesn’t? What situations do you find cause a bigger conflict than others? Had you heard of Kelso before?
Lisa Marie Fletcher