At BFC, our sitters are trained to help children manage inevitable conflicts and unhappiness. However, when children are playing together nicely, sometimes even a small things can become challenging. Dana Rosenbloom, Owner and Therapist at Dana’s Kids, explores how we use “I’m Sorry” in place of fostering meaningful interactions between our children.
The Problem: Children can be playing nicely together at a birthday party or event when suddenly a conflict arises. Or perhaps two children are sharing and enjoying each other’s company when one leans over and grabs a toy, pushes the other child, or bites the other’s arm.
The Age Old Solution: Parents are quick to tell their child “tell them you’re sorry!”
Why It Doesn’t Work: Children, in an attempt to appease their parents and stay at the birthday party, will often say I’m sorry and move on. However, oftentimes the children do not actually know why they’re saying sorry or the meaning behind the phrase.
The Solution: There are a few ways Ms. Rosenbloom suggests for teaching young children better and more genuine ways of handling these situations:
Instead of asking children to say “I’m Sorry,” teach them to “check in” with the victim. They may ask them if they’re okay or if they need help getting up.
Make sure your child waits and listens to the response instead of just asking the question and walking away.
If the other child is hurt, you may teach your child to offer assistance. This could be in the form of bringing them ice, a tissue, or a band aid. This will build problem solving skills and empathy.
For older children, help them to identify the other child’s emotions. This can be done by helping them think of a time they felt the same. This will also give them an opportunity to think of realistic ways they can help the victim.
For more information about teaching your children about “I’m Sorry” and other alternatives, check out Ms. Rosenbloom’s article.