At 5 years old, children are meeting and getting to know more people. Your child is now learning that she can influence others. She can use words to reason and negotiate or to hurt and exclude others. She can use actions to play fun active games or to be aggressive.
Your child is learning how people respond to her words and actions. She needs your support and guidance to learn to use these skills in positive ways so that she can get along with others.
When friends disagree
Children enjoy being with other children, but they can also have disagreements. At times your child will want to set the rules, as will her friend.
You may think you need to rush in to solve the argument. Instead, try to wait and listen carefully to them. Let your child learn how to problem-solve for herself. She can learn how to reason and negotiate fairly with experience and your help.
When friends (or siblings) argue:
- Calm yourself and the children.
- Separate them if they’re hurting each other.
- Once they’re calm, let both children take their turn stating the problem as they see it.
- Repeat the problem back to them in a way that states both of their sides. Try not to blame or judge (e.g., "It looks like 2 girls want to play with the same skipping rope at the same time".).
- Tell them you know they can find a solution that will work for both of them and that you’re there if they need help.
- Stay close by to monitor the situation and give them time to work it out.
- Step back in to help only if needed.
- If someone is getting hurt or something is getting damaged, you will need to get involved. You may also need to involve the other child’s parents. More information about the steps for problem-solving.