MamaToyz tips for keeping the peace during playtime
Whether it’s siblings who have spent a great deal of time together or moving back to normality and encouraging them to play with others, disagreements happen and keeping the peace during playtime can sometimes be difficult. We know that it’s an important part of their development, but sometimes we all struggle to find new ways to help them come to positive resolutions.
In this post we’re going to explain why these disagreements are important to their development and give you some key ideas to help them resolve the problem they have with someone else, to keep the peace during playtime.
Why are playtime disagreements healthy?
‘According to research from University of Toronto, toddler-age siblings clash more than six times per hour and siblings under 7 fight, on average, every 20 minutes.’
So maybe this statistic is a home truth that hits hard. When it’s laid out in this way, that’s a lot of fighting and of course, we don’t want anyone to get hurt physically or emotionally. Conflicts are an important part of growing up and especially when it’s with a sibling. But, these disagreements also happen outside of the home and most likely with people they’re familiar with.
During play, children are developing their social-emotional, cognitive and growing in other ways too; it’s a crucial part of them growing up. With most self-initiated activities, like role-playing games or anything imaginatively based, our children are creating their own scenarios with varying problems that need solving. Although sometimes based on more realistic events, like going to the post office or being a chef, disagreements arise when another influence (i.e. their sibling or friend) challenges them by making the scenario change direction. Maybe they don’t have enough money for a stamp or they disliked the imaginary food, but either way an opportunity for something to break the peace has arisen.
This is understandably a place that many important learning opportunities take place. They learn how to respond, how to empathise, how to respect another person, where differing opinions come from and ultimately, that they can’t predict what someone else will do but they can learn how to remain calm and find a helpful resolution.
How to help little ones find a resolution
Becoming the unbiased person for each child to calmly explain what they see the problem as being is the best place to begin. Remaining in a neutral position at their height with an air of calm can help reduce tension. They then each have the opportunity to explain, without interruption the problem and listen to what their opponent has to say. This gives them more opportunity to see from the other person’s perspective and might be all it takes to find the resolution.
Depending on their age or their personality, some children will find it harder to be able to explain themselves or how they’re feeling with words. By presenting them the choice to write or draw what the problem is they may find it easier to begin to understand what they want. It also might just be that they feel under pressure by the person they’ve disagreed with and this is a distraction for both that helps them to speak openly.
The MamaToyz Retro TV Blackboard is great in this scenario, allowing them to draw and present their argument to you and their sibling or friend.
If the dispute is getting out of control, as in you can see that they need time apart to resolve it, being the mediator you can suggest they each move away for a moment to regroup. This can immediately calm a situation down and help set up a conversation for success. A short walk in opposite direction normally does the trick!
Another option is to send them to an area where they can think, jot down ideas and have that time apart before coming together again to create their resolution. The MamaToyz White Medium Masa Desk & Bench creates the ideal environment for this!
Being consistent in how you mediate these ‘conflicts’ is useful for your little one later in life. They begin to consistently deal with these ‘problems’ when they arise and eventually won’t need you there, all helping to develop their independence!
Giving them an object when it’s their turn to talk helps to make sure each participant respects the time they have to talk. When they hold the object they can speak, when someone else holds the object they have to be silent and listen. We also like this because it helps to reduce exaggerated movement. When they get worked up and start moving their arms around erratically, it makes it difficult for them to concentrate on what they’re trying to say. By giving them an object like a MamaToyz Mini Vehicle, they have something tactile to move in their hands without getting over-invested in their explanation.
Although slightly contradictory to our no.4 tip, you know your children best and whether this would be a better option. A speaking platform isn’t there to alienate anyone or over-exaggerate but can show how some disputes aren’t as big as they appear to be. By asking whoever’s turn it is to speak to step up and present their ‘argument’ in a slightly more official way, they really have to think and consider what it is they have a problem with. It’s a great one for slightly older children!
The MamaToyz Kule Learning Tower is great for this with its adjustable nature, your child has their own speaking stand!
The takeaway from this is that the best way to keep the peace is to help your children voice their thoughts safely and allow them the time to come up with and discuss their solutions. By allowing them the time and space in the future, they have learnt to calmly approach their problems and disagreements with the confidence that they can find a happy solution.