Conflict Resolution Activities for Kids

Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

This lesson will address the importance of teaching children to resolve conflicts peacefully and will offer a three-step process for learning the basic skills of conflict resolution.

Why Resolve Conflicts?

Whether you are a CEO at a Fortune 500 corporation supervising meetings in the board room or a kindergarten teacher supervising kids on the playground, it is inevitable that there will be conflict between those in your charge at some point. The sooner people learn to resolve conflict in their lives, the better they will do in social and work settings, so it is important that children learn this skill early in life. And the benefits go far beyond the playground or the sandbox. The majority of companies who are hiring college graduates nowadays are looking for people who know how to get along with others and who can resolve conflicts peacefully.

Steps for Peacefully Resolving Conflicts

Believe it or not, most people do not come out of the womb knowing how to resolve conflicts. Like many other things, it is a skill that must be taught and practiced. When you are teaching kids how to work on this skill, keep it simple. Here are three simple steps that can be taught to even the youngest of children in order to help them resolve conflict peacefully:

1. Practice Understanding. If we don't understand where the other person is coming from, we can't resolve our differences. There are two basic components to practicing understanding: listening and stating how you feel. Even when we don't agree, it's important to listen to what the other person has to say. Doing this makes it much more likely that they will listen to you. And when you do get a chance to talk, it's important to state how you feel. Using 'I' statements can help. Saying 'I feel this way when you do...' is much more effective than blurting out, 'You did this, and you made me feel this way.' Ultimately we are all in charge of our own feelings, so there really is merit in this approach.

2. Avoid Making the Situation Worse. Whatever you do, don't make the situation worse! Name-calling and telling the other person's secrets to the whole world will not help, and remember, once you say something, you cannot take it back--those words are out there forever. Besides, would you want someone calling you names or telling your secrets?

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