Monday, July 15, 2024

It’s Never too Early to Reason With a Child

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Parenting From Balance©

mindfulNon Violent Communication, and reasoning (rather than punishing) “works” no matter what the age!  Each child in a conflict learns what they can from it!

There are a number of techniques you can use to help children of diverse ages in conflict.

When two children are arguing over the same toy, for example, we first reflect: “I see that Mary wants the egg beater, and David wants the egg beater. What should we do?”

We slow down. We don’t speed up to get to the end of the conflict — that only exasperates it, ignites it even more.

Mary and David both say “I want it I want it!”

Teacher: “Hmm…. is there another egg beater here anywhere? Hmmm…. what about this flour sifter? Would this work?”

The children stop for a moment, expectant, looking around for a second egg beater. At that point, if there is a second one, one of the kids will usually reach for it and the conflict is over.

But what happens when there is no second egg beater, and the flour sifter also is not a suitable alternative?

You can help them reflect on their intention, to help them find a solution: What was your plan with the egg beater? Mary? David?

Of course, you are treading very gently if both children are in melt-down mode. In fact, if there are both crying, and yanking the eggbeater back and forth between themselves, then the teacher is simply holding onto in, after saying once “Mary wants it, and David wants it, so I am going to keep it safe for both of you until we can all figure out what to do.”

If at some point the children seem stumped (10 minutes, or 15 minutes into it) you could reflect back on when you saw how Jack used a list the previous week to keep his turn with an object safe, and when Ben was finished using it, Jack then had his turn.

There is much to watch out for, especially the urge to solve it for them. Many Montessori and Waldorf classrooms are mixed ages, and must deal with conflicts across developmental stages. Most of them do not use NVC to resolve conflicts, though. On the other hand, Reggio Emilia and Bev Bos’s classrooms are, like ours, also mixed ages, and they often use the same techniques we do. Reflective listening, deep listening, allowing the children to feel their feelings, KNOWING that the children are able to resolve their own conflicts, keeping our stuff out of the conflict, and letting it be about the kids.

Lots of Love,

Riviera PlaySchool in Redondo Beach, CA
A Mindful program for the ‘Whole Child,’ inspired by the best of Attachment Parenting, Bev Bos, Montessori, Waldorf and Non-Violent Communication.


One Response to “It’s Never too Early to Reason With a Child”
  1. Trish says:

    Thanks for this reminder! It helps me to refocus when i’m reminded about why i choose NVC parenting.

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