Teaching life skills is an important task and what if I told you its no rocket science. And you can teach things like assertiveness, problem-solving through everyday situations you encounter at home.
As a parent, you would be tempted to resolve the fight. Everyone loves a calm and serene household. Except this is a house with kids. Here silence is suspicious.
Understand that we don’t need to run to our child’s rescue each time they are in trouble. Also, a sibling fight or a fight with peers gives a chance to the child to express himself and exert his/her opinions. Sibling fights and letting it play out teaches children problem-solving, from my experience as a mother of two, here are a few amazing tips on how you can use these everyday problems to teach essential life skills to kids.
1. Try to be neutral.
Don’t take sides. All you got to do is hear both the kids out now. What it does is it makes them feel heard. They also learn to trust you better. When talking to a kid words, your choice of words matters the most. Say things like
“That was bad, I can understand how much you like that toy”.
You can let the fight play out. Play a mute spectator to the whole thing only because it will help your children learn to fend for themselves.
2. Validate your child’s feeling and repeat their versions.
Don’t hesitate to ask them about what to do. Don’t try to be the mediator just because you’re the adult, ask your child what can be done about it. Ask the child what he or she thinks. Helping to gain insights into the child’s perspective, easily, is key to learning problem-solving.
If you want your child to learn about sharing, you need to teach them how to share. I know we all want our kids to be kind and generous humans, but asking them to give up a toy they’re playing with, attempts to encourage the “sharing is caring” concept doesn’t actually help.
Furthermore, teach your kids assertive language that they can use to solve any problem. Repeat the concept of waiting and turn-taking over and over again, so the child understands how taking turns work. These kinds of words and conversations, help in a child’s mind.
Empower your kids with these phrases to help them express themselves better.
“It is so hard to wait”. Why don’t we play with cars in the meantime or
Next, repeat each child’s version- “oh so he snatched your toy first, that’s a bad thing to do” this will help both the kids to understand the problem and they may even own up their mistakes, without you having to insinuate further.
3. Maintaining boundaries
For teaching your children about boundaries model and teach them to uphold boundaries for other’s possessions.
“Forced sharing actually makes kids be more territorial and cling to their possessions”.
When you said that you got to wait for your turn, your child isn’t going to take that easily. That’s going to be a flood of emotions that you have to be ready with. So welcome the tantrum. If it’s not their turn yet, it might bring out a lot of frustration and anger. And this is okay. We cannot control how our limits make them feel. All we do is set limits.
Now kids learn more life skills and develop empathy and generosity when they aren’t forced to share. When a child is playing with something and another child wants it, and you say “be nice, share”, this is us, that’s the parents who are doing the sharing. Not the child. We want child leading the sharing and turn taking.
Forced sharing actually makes kids be more territorial and cling to their possessions. They feel like we treat them unfairly, and they can even grow resentment towards us. So we can instead empower our kids with healthy boundaries and control of their possessions, which will allow for a natural empathy and generosity to emerge.
- Try to be neutral, don’t take sides.
- Validate and repeat.
- Let the fight play out.
- Ask the kids for their opinions and solutions