How to handle conflicts with friends during play dates

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How to handle conflicts with friends during play dates

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You know parents sometimes get frustrated when they have friends over or their children are visiting with other children, and the children get in conflict with each other. And the parents wonder what can I do, how can I help my child. And the first thing to know is that it is kind of a positive sign that children are in conflict with each other, because what they are trying to do is they are trying to work out how does how relationship work. How do we negotiate space and time and materials? And it gives parents a wonderful opportunity to teach their children some skills in terms of conflict resolution. so one of the things that is important is that parents don't take a side. If you feel like oh this child is the aggressor and this child is the victim, you can't go in to really help the children really negotiate a settlement. So if you understand that each child is coming into the argument with a valid viewpoint, like I had that toy, but I wanted to play with it, but those are valid viewpoints. You can help children have a dialogue with each other. So you may say to one child looks like you really want to play with that truck. Can you tell Patricia what you want to do with it. And Patricia, what do you want to do with that truck? And so you really facilitate the children talking about their feelings. How do you feel when she pulls it from you? I don't like it when she pulls it from me. You may reframe some of the language that they use with each other. A child might call another child 'dummy' and you may say it looks like you are really upset because she took your truck, so that you can give them other words. The other thing is that if you can stay with them in conversation and say do you have a solution that Patricia might like and that you might like? Then the children may come up with their very own solution. Maybe it doesn't even make any sense to you, but they've come up with an idea of what they can do to solve that problem. And that's what they are really trying to do. They are trying to figure out how to be play friends with each other.

View Janis Keyser, MA's video on How to handle conflicts with friends during play dates...

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Janis Keyser, MA

Early Childhood Education Specialist & Author

Janis Keyser currently works as a site director for a child development program in Mountain View, California. She was a full-time faculty member in the Early Childhood Education Department at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California for 30 years, teaching children, teachers and parents and coordinating a state demonstration infant toddler program. She has written a resource book for parents and one for teachers; and is a nationally recognized speaker at parenting, family and child development conferences, and has conducted workshops nationally and internationally for parents and teachers for over 35 years. She enjoys swimming, kayaking, photography, family games and cooking with friends of all ages.

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