The Problem Solving Mediation Steps
2. Acknowledge the children’s feelings. This is a critical step that helps the children to be able to listen to you. Acknowledging feelings also helps children identify their feelings, and learn how their feelings lead to behaviors and consequences. “Matthew, I can tell you are very angry right now. And Kyle, you seem to be scared that Matthew will hurt you.” As children get better at this process, you should ask the children to interpret others’ feelings: “Matthew, how do you think Kyle is feeling right now?” “Kyle, how do you think Matthew is feeling?” Also remember the acting out cycle – if a child is actively upset, wait to carry out the other steps until the child has returned to a calm state. Otherwise the child will not listen or hear you, or learn anything from the process.
|Photo from North American Montessori Center|
6. Provide follow-up support. After a problem-solving choice is made, check back with the children to be sure the solution is being followed and is working. Give positive feedback to let them know how well they’ve worked at problem-solving. “Matthew and Kyle, how is your solution working?” “Okay. Jesse wanted to play, too, so we’re all gonna play it now.” “Great thinking. You did a terrific job of solving this problem.” In your feedback, be sure to focus on the good job they did with the process, rather than the good idea itself. We want to teach children that the problem-solving process is the important issue.