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No one likes to see their child in a skirmish with another kid. But social conflicts are not unheard of in a daycare setting, whether it’s two children fighting over a toy in the block area or a child pushing another or throwing things because they’re frustrated. 

Let’s face it; young children do not have the skills or emotional regulation to solve social conflicts independently. It’s not unusual for children to hit, kick and yell when overwhelmed with strong emotions. They haven’t yet learned how to control their impulses or work out disagreements in socially acceptable ways. For this reason, settling children’s altercations involves teaching them age-appropriate strategies for solving conflict and regulating aggressive behavior.

Here are the steps early childhood educators use to mediate conflicts and physical altercations between children.

Settling Children’s Altercations

Step 1: Help the Children Calm Down

When children are upset, hitting, biting, or fighting, the first step to settling children’s altercations is as follows. Most conflicts get calmer immediately after an adult gets involved. If not, the teacher must remain calm, separate the children, if need be, and use a firm voice to ensure the children stop hitting. 

Remember, getting down to the children’s level is essential so they can feel seen and heard. Acknowledge their feelings by saying, “You’re feeling upset” or “You’re feeling angry right now, but it’s not okay to hit when you’re angry.”

What’s more, if a child hurts someone, include them in treating the hurt child. This enables her to develop empathy and understand the impacts of her action.

Step 2: Identify the Problem

It’s typical for children in early childhood programs to experience social conflict over:

  • Space
  • Toys
  • Relationships
  • Incomplete understanding of a situation
  • Ideas

Once everyone is calm, the next step is to gather information about what happened from the children. Again, give individual attention equally and offer each child a chance to share their side of the story without interruption. After the children have given their perspectives, restate relevant details and provide them with an opportunity to add more information to the story or share their concerns.

At this stage, the goal of settling children’s altercations is to listen without passing judgment so that the children can feel valued and secure.

Step 3: Problem-Solving

The educator’s role in peaceful conflict resolution is to:

  • Anticipate that conflict might occur
  • Respond to the situation when conflict occurs to prevent physical or emotional injury
  • Support all children involved to promote positive growth

If a child hurts another child, help them take responsibility for hurting someone and teach them how to apologize and makeup. Also, let the kids talk it out. It’s a chance for them to develop conflict management skills and brainstorm ideas to solve the problem.

Settling Children’s Altercations in Daycare

The social conflicts of childhood are a part of growing up. They offer a chance to educate children on human relationships and the art of forgiveness. When handled properly, it also helps them learn social skills, set boundaries, and draw the line between play and physical aggression.

Make a Difference in Your Child’s Life

Settling children’s altercations for effective development is always a challenge. Professional child educators at The Learning Center create an environment where your child’s needs will be met consistently to have the sense of safety and security needed to learn and grow. 

Enrolling your kid in daycare is one of the best things you can do for them. Contact the Learning Center to discover how our educational programs can set your child on the path to success.