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Social Problem Solving

At age five, kids develop more stable friendships and social conflict among friends becomes inevitable. Kids are more likely to have conflict with close friends than with acquaintances because they spend more time with friends and have to negotiate different opinions, temperaments and styles of play. The good news is kids this age are highly motivated to solve these social problems because they care about the relationships. As parents, we can help children learn how to collaborate, cooperate, communicate, negotiate, self-advocate and respect others.

Promote Problem Solving

When children have a conflict, sometimes they need adults to step in and help them find healthy solutions ― especially if they are using harmful language or physical behavior. But when possible, encourage problem-solving behavior without solving the problem for them. This might sound like, "It sounds like you are upset because you both want to be the pirate king. How could we solve this?" Use the Daniel Tiger strategy song "Find a Way to Play Together" to talk to your child about navigating disagreements during playtime. And remember, sometimes conflicts are the result of kids feeling tired or hungry or overstimulated, and they just need a break! Two children who leave a playdate angry may very well be "best friends" the next day.