Next time you and your child are faced with a problem, try this out!
Take out a large piece of paper and a marker and tell your child you are going to do some important work. Children love to be involved with making lists and writing words. It makes them feel very grown-up.
Write down your child’s thoughts, feelings and concerns about the issue, and then write down your own.
Ask your child, “What can help you?” Or, “what can we do?” Depending upon your child’s age, tell them you need 3-5 ideas. You can offer some ideas as well, particularly if your child is having a hard time getting started.
Next, read back the ideas and ask your child if he or she thinks the idea will work. Cross out any ideas that you aren’t comfortable with, explaining to your child why you want to take that one out. Cross out any that your child thinks may not be helpful.
Together, choose the best solution and put it to work! This is a great activity for helping children remember to brush their teeth in the morning or put their toys away. It can also be used for many issues that come up between siblings and peers. In that case, each child would have the opportunity to come up with a few solutions. This is a helpful technique for the classroom as well.
Just like when eating vegetables, children are more apt to try something if they’ve been involved in preparing it!