Working together with children is the best way to help them. Most children learn by doing and with adults help we can build more emotional connections. Mention at the beginning that you are excited to listen to both, to help solve the quarrel so both profit and that you can’t wait to have some well-deserved ice cream afterward.
This will make them feel heard, part of a group and with good motivation to resolve and not sulk.
2. Give them a minute
A minute of silence helps children mentally prepare for moving on. Adults know how to read clocks and can mentally prepare that way, children don’t yet. Verbally telling them how many minutes or showing them a countdown is a way to help them process.
If you believe your children are not patient enough to last a whole minute, ask for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise if necessary multiple times.
3. Are you Okay?
“Are you okay?” allows the hurt child to process how they are feeling and allows the other child to realize their actions have consequences. Then flip it around.
Ask the other child the same question but ask them to show enough maturity to not focus on the blame that was tossed. More times than not the child first to be blamed is the one who was the first one to get hurt.
Acknowledge both sides and thank them, but do not take sides.
4. Talk them through frustrations and hurt feelings
Labeling the emotions helps the child process their emotions, it builds connections is their brain that will tell them in the future: “You’re frustrated. But we can move to pass it I say it rather act on it!” This is crucial to make them understand. The argument happened because one or both did not express the emotions they had but rather just got upset. The more they know their feelings the easier is going to get.
*Try offering this solution of words to use: “I am hurt but I know you love me, right?” then followed by asking for an explanation of the action done that made the child hurt.
Let’s talk, not assume.
5. Don’t rush it
The amount of tears a child sheds is based on how we react. More often than not, they don’t need (or want) our help and we can just let the situation play out.
But other times they might need more time. Do not rush them because you are in a rush. If you are, tell them you are, do not make them feel they are in fault because their emotions are fragile and important to nourish and respect just like yours are to you.
*Smart tip: invite them to kitchen to sit and eat ice cream in silence while you do your errand in case you indeed are rushed at the moment of argument. Promise them to talkk and try and solve issue with them as soon as you finish.
And mean it.
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