Conflicts and problem-solving: How to help preschoolers help themselves

Conflicts and problems are normal in early childhood classrooms—but what’s the best way to solve them? Maybe you shouldn’t. When children disagree or grapple with difficult feelings, the teacher’s first instinct is often to suggest a solution so that order can be restored and classroom learning can continue. However, the “quick fix” might not help children in the long run. Problem-solving is an essential skill that becomes more and more important as children grow older and the challenges of life grow more complex.

Giving preschoolers the tools to think problems through (at their level) and suggest possible solutions will lead to greater social success and enhanced independent thinking. Rather than stepping in, teachers can use constructive strategies when children have problems and suggest ways the children themselves can effectively resolve those issues.

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