Our teachers use the following six steps to help children resolve conflicts:
Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions:
Place yourself between the children, on their level; use a calm voice and gentle touch; remain neutral rather than taking sides.
Acknowledge children's feelings:
Say something simple such as "You look really upset"; let children know you need to hold any object in question.
Ask "What's the problem?"; do not ask "why?" questions as young children focus on what the problem is rather than understanding the reasons behind it.
Restate the problem:
"So the problem is..." using and extending the children's vocabulary, substituting undesirable words (e.g. stupid) if necessary.
Ask for solutions and choose one together:
Ask "What can we do to solve this problem?" Encourage children to think of a solution but help if the children are unable.
Be prepared to give follow-up support:
Acknowledge children's accomplishments. Stay nearby in case anyone is not happy with the solution.