"He hit me!"
"No I didn't! She took my block!"
How many times have we as teachers and parents heard similar arguments between children?
If your answer is "never" please write to me and tell me your secret! All joking aside, these conflicts are a healthy and normal part of growing up. These are referred to as "teachable moments." It does take some extra time and energy out of our busy days but are so important to address.
Have you ever had a disagreement or argument with your spouse or significant other right before you left for work? How was work for you? Did you plow through your to do list or did you find yourself distracted? Did you meet new clients with a smile on your face and a charm about you? Or was your confidence a bit shot, your words a little off? Did you type up that big report or did you continuously play over in your head what you wish you would have said or done?
My guess is you were pretty distracted. Children are the same way. They cannot move on when there is an unresolved issue. Academics go out the window if they are worried if their best friend is still going to play with them at recess. We need to help our children work out their problems.
We recently attended an anti-bullying conference (please find information at www.soulshoppe.com) where we learned some new ways to help young children work out their problems. There we learned 3 important phrases that you and your child can work on at home:
Will you please.....
We are working on relating emotions and feelings to words that we can verbalize to each other. Give them words and show them by example (I feel frustrated, nervous, scared, angry, sad, disappointed, etc). Help your child by expressing what can resolve their negative feeling (I need calm, quiet voices, a hug, a schedule, etc). Finally, teach them by modelling and giving them the words to say to ask for what they need (Will you please give me space, hold my hand, talk in a quiet voice, be on time). Giving each child a way or process to solve a problem is teaching them a skill (just like reading, math, spelling, etc) that they will carry with them throughout life.
Arguments and disagreements are a typical aspect in life but it's the resolution that really counts!
Julie Avery, the Junior K Coordinator, is the teacher that runs the Little Acres Program. She has been working with children over the past 10 years. With Julie's California teaching credential, she will ensure a child's developmental learning through patience, understanding, and quality academic activities.