NY baby steps header logo

5 Ways To Help Your Kids Develop Conflict Resolution Skills

conflict resolution skills

Conflict is always part of human existence, and our children may face conflict in school, at home, or both. It is a normal and healthy part of relationships. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything. Sometimes, conflict can erupt into a full-blown fight or disagreement. When that happens, it’s important for children to develop the skills necessary to resolve their differences and repair relationships with one another.

Conflict resolution skills are the techniques used to resolve a conflict and bring about a peaceful solution on both sides. These skills are often taught in classrooms as well as at home because they provide our children with practical ways of dealing with conflicts and disagreements. When children learn these skills, they not only become better equipped to deal with conflicts that come up in their lives, but they also learn how to avoid them.

Teaching kids conflict resolution skills is a process, but with practice, children can learn how to cope with and resolve conflict effectively. It’s important for parents to model these skills, too. When parents can resolve arguments respectfully, they help their children learn valuable lessons they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Below you will find ways that parents can help children develop conflict resolution skills. But first, let’s find out why conflict is a good learning experience for children:

Why Can Conflict Be a Good Thing?

It can be hard to see conflict in a positive light. After all, it’s normal to want to protect your children from fighting or hurt feelings. However, the truth is that conflict brings an opportunity to learn a life skill that will serve them well throughout their lives: how to resolve disagreements. In other words, parents should try and encourage their kids when they are in the process of resolving conflict. 

Understanding and learning how to deal with conflict properly allows children to:

  • Less likely to resort to violence and bullying as ways of resolving conflict in the future.
  • Increase their self-esteem as they learn to express their feelings in an appropriate manner and develop the skills necessary to manage conflict.
  • Increase their problem-solving skills as they learn to identify and respond to emotions appropriately.
  • Contribute to their relationships by making themselves heard in a way that helps build bridges instead of walls between people.
  • Learn how to reach an agreement on issues without resorting to violence or name-calling. 

What are The Essential Conflict Resolutions Skills To Teach Children?

There are a lot of different abilities that children will need to learn if they’re going to be able to resolve conflict effectively. It can be hard for parents to know exactly how to help their kids develop these skills, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Luckily, there are several tips that parents can use when encouraging their kids in the development of conflict resolution skills:

1. Have Children Manage Emotions

mom teaching deep breathing technique

In order to effectively deal with conflict, children need to learn how to manage their feelings. It’s important for kids to be able to identify and label their emotions. When they can do that, they won’t just be reacting out of anger, but they’ll be able to take a step back and think rationally about the situation. 

Teach children how to manage their emotions with these tips:

  • When a child is angry or frustrated, teach them to take a deep breath, count to ten, or even count backward from ten.
  • When children are frustrated, teach them how to solve their problems by speaking from a place of rational thought. For example, if a child is upset that his brother took his toy, he can take a step back from the situation and figure out how to deal with the conflict positively.

2. Efficient Communication

Children should not vent their frustrations when they have a conflict with someone. Instead, they need to express their problems and concerns in a calm manner. Effective communication is essential to help children resolve problems and manage conflict as they age. 

When kids are able to communicate effectively in all areas of life, they will be able to:

  • Identify their feelings without overreacting and labeling them appropriately.
  • Share their opinions without resorting to name-calling or insults.
  • Share their emotions with parents and friends in a way that teaches them to express themselves clearly and honestly.
  • Identify the feelings of others and accept those feelings as if anyone else’s feelings are equal to theirs.
  • Participate in constructive debates with peers without interrupting or yelling.
  • Communicate with authority figures in a way that doesn’t involve disrespectful or hostile behavior.

3. Solve the Problem Together

Let the children solve the problem together instead of stepping in to solve the conflict. If they can talk it out and reach a solution, there’s no reason to step in and solve the problem for them. Letting kids resolve conflict on their own teaches them important life lessons they’ll need later on. 

Parents can help kids by:

  • Serving as the go-between. If children are struggling to communicate with one another, parents can help by talking to each child separately and then putting both sides of the story together. If there is a conflict, parents should let the children work it out on their own, but it’s important to be able to step in if they can’t.
  • Letting kids use their words to solve disputes. If kids are unable to resolve conflicts through communication, they should be allowed to use their words to help solve the problem. This might mean giving them time-outs or giving them a chance to come up with solutions on their own.

4. Learning To Apologize

learning to apologize

Apologies are an important part of conflict resolution because they allow children to show that they understand their mistakes and are willing to work toward repairing the damage they’ve done. It’s important that children learn the difference between atoning for their wrongdoings and blaming someone else. 

Encourage your children to apologize. If your children have had an argument and they’ve said something they shouldn’t have, let them apologize to the other child. This will help them learn to take responsibility for their actions and show that they understand what they did was wrong.

5. Teach Kindness and Fairness

Just as important as teaching children how to resolve conflict is teaching them the value of kindness and fair treatment of all people. Helping kids understand that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and fairness will prepare them to be kind to people outside the family. Learning this will help them develop conflict resolution skills.

Encourage your children to be kind with these tips:

  • Tell stories about people who show acts of kindness and compassion. It’s also a good idea to point out acts of kindness around you so they can see real-life examples of how kindness affects other people.
  • Help your children understand the importance of working together. You can do this by ensuring they know they could never solve a problem on their own, but they would need to work with others to solve problems. This will help them become more comfortable working with other people and will teach them that cooperation is a valuable skill.
  • Help your children understand that everyone is fair and deserves the same chance in life no matter who they are or their background.

Conflict Resolution Activities and Games For Children

Engaging in conflict resolution activities and games can help your child learn how to properly express their feelings, manage conflict, and apologize when they make mistakes. These games also teach kids how to work together in a productive way and show them the importance of helping others.

1. Conflict Resolution Games

  1. Emotional Rollercoaster: Playing this game with kids will help them understand that their emotions don’t always have to control them. They will learn how to remain calm, take time-outs in order to express themselves without being judged, and express their emotions without acting out of anger.
  2. Toss and Learn Game: This game aims to teach kids skills for resolving common problems, which can be enjoyed individually or in teams.

2. “I feel…..when….” Statements

This activity helps children learn to use different feelings and words to express themselves. You can do this by asking your child a simple question or scenario and asking them to describe how they feel in the following way: “I feel…. when…..” For example, you can ask your kids a scenario like, “What would you feel when your brother took your toy away from you?”

3. Role Play

role play

Role-playing different scenarios of conflict can help children develop the ability to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Ask your child to put himself in the other child’s shoes and imagine he was the one who was offended, bullied, or hurt. Then, ask him to act out what he thinks the other person might do in that scenario. This will help your child learn how to show empathy and think about the situation from another’s point of view, which is very important skill kids need to resolve conflict peacefully.

4. Practice Brainstorming Solutions

This game will give kids practice deciding what to do to solve a conflict. You can do this game as an individual or as a group. Ask kids to imagine a problem and then ask them what they would do to solve that problem. This will encourage kids to think of more than one solution and will also prepare them for resolving conflicts in the real world. For example, you could ask, “If your playmate took your toy without asking, what would you do?” Give kids time to think of how they would solve the problem and help them by giving suggestions.

Final Thoughts

Conflict resolution is important because solving problems and working with other people will help children become more confident and well-rounded. By practicing these tips, children will be able to work through their differences and promote healthy relationships, which will help them lead more successful lives.

Here in NY Baby Steps, developing conflict resolution skills is a natural part of the learning process; we use conflict resolution activities and strategies to help children cooperate with each other and explore their feelings. Suppose you want your child to develop strong emotional bonds with others and allow them to learn the skill of empathizing. In that case, you should consider enrolling your child in an early education facility in the NY area. NY Baby Steps is your best choice for a child care facility that can help your child develop the skills to be a well-rounded, confident and strong individual.