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Playground Politics: Giving Children Tools to Solve Their Own Problems

Playground politics usually involve a spat among kids that often escalates, but goes unresolved, when adults step in. Here are some tips for helping kids solve their own problems. It’s natural to step in to solve a child’s problem, particularly when they’re young. But to what extent? What happens when we continue to solve problems for children without helping them learn to do it for themselves?


Scenerio Two children play happily in the living room. You hear them chatting and hear the clickety-clack of magna tiles sticking together. These two are architects constructing the finest towers in all the land – whose building will be taller? Then Cameron takes the last square tile out of Jordan’s hands. You hear Jordan wail, “That’s mine!”


Your instinct is to step in and solve the problem. “Cameron, Jordan was playing with that square magna tile. You can play with it next.”

The response is quick and decisive. The children are mollified, and they are safe. That’s all that matters, right? Maybe not.

The Problem

The problem with consistently stepping in and handling conflict for children is that they don’t learn strategies for depending on their own judgment. They don’t learn how to speak up for themselves. It may not seem like that big a deal when they’re little, but if an adult is always there to intervene and solve their problems as kids, how will they develop the confidence to know they even can resolve their own conflicts?

Keep on reading to find the solution...

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