Social-Emotional Skills for Preschoolers: Part 4
Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution
Problem Solving Practice
Provide a variety of open-ended toys that encourage creative thinking and experimentation.
Talk out loud while you solve problems to model effective problem-solving strategies.
Ask questions more often than you give answers. Get in the habit of saying, “What do you think we could do to solve this problem?”
When your child is trying to solve a problem, think of yourself as a coach. Guide your child through identifying the problem, brainstorming possible solutions, choosing a solution to try and trying it, and evaluating how the solution worked.
Help your child view mistakes as opportunities to learn.
Try puzzles, tangrams, various math manipulatives, etc.
Create your own scavenger hunt with clues – make them just tricky enough that your preschooler has to think without getting frustrated.
Do simple science experiments together – practice making predictions and seeing what happens. Start with a sink/float experiment or search for things that are magnetic.
Our favorite problem-solving board games:
Conflict Resolution 101
- Approach the situation calmly and make sure everyone is safe.
- Get down on the children’s level and use a calm voice.
- Acknowledge each child’s feelings.
- Gather information, allowing each child a turn to talk.
- Restate the problem.
- Ask children for ideas on how they will solve the problem. If necessary, suggest appropriate solutions.
- Choose an appropriate solution that everyone can agree on.
Building These Skills During Play
Take advantage of story time to talk about how the characters’ are solving their problems. Stop the story before the solution and ask your child, “What would you do in this situation?”
Role play with your child using puppets, animals, dolls, or yourselves. Model the skills and language you want your child to learn and use.
Problem Solving in Action @ Scholastic
Preschool Thinking + Problem Solving Activities @ PreSchool Mama
Conflict Resolution for Preschoolers @ Teacher’s College – Columbia University
Book: You Can’t Come to My Birthday Party! Conflict Resolution With Young Children by Betsy Evans (You can visit her website and view an excerpt here.)
Thank you for your great feedback on this series so far – I am glad you are finding bits and pieces to use with your little ones. Part 5, Regulating Emotions, is coming up tomorrow!