First Light Early Education Program

A Community of Healthy Families

6 Steps to Conflict Resolution

on November 5, 2015

Learning to Resolve Conflicts through Problem Solving

Helping children manage frustrations and resolve social conflicts is an area of social learning that is often particularly important to teachers. Teachers find that HighScope’s six-step conflict resolution process is especially useful. The six steps summarized below are used to help children settle disputes and conflicts. Children can often carry out this sequence on their own by program’s end.

 

Conflict resolution steps

  • Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions. Place yourself between the children, on their level; use a calm voice and gentle touch; remain neutral rather than take sides.
  • Acknowledge children’s feelings. Say something simple such as “You look really upset;” let children know you need to hold any object in question.
  • Gather information. Ask “What’s the problem?” Do not ask “why” questions as young children focus on that what the problem is rather than understanding the reasons behind it.
  • Restate the problem: “So the problem is…” Use and extend the children’s vocabulary, substituting neutral words for hurtful or judgmental ones (such as “stupid”) if needed.
  • Ask for solutions and choose one together. Ask “What can we do to solve this problem?” Encourage children to think of a solution but offer options if the children are unable to at first.
  • Be prepared to give follow-up support. Acknowledge children’s accomplishments, e.g., “You solved the problem!” Stay nearby in case anyone is not happy with the solution and the process needs repeating.
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