My younger sister used to poke me when I wouldn’t play with her. My first strategy was to tell her to leave me alone and…
In order to hold onto more than one child at the same time, it is also important to bridge the problem behaviour and convey a desire to be with each child despite conduct. If it is necessary to talk to each child later, after the incident, it may be best to do this one on one rather than together.
When you focus on helping kids understand the emotions that drove them to act immature, then you are better positioned to help them act differently the next time. It is emotion that drives behaviour and that is where we want to do our work.
We need to preserve order, point them towards a more civilized form of relating and be patient until maturity delivers, with our help, an emotionally mature, reflective, independent, and tempered individual. Until that time - kids will get frustrated and we will need to lead them through it. Dr. Deborah MacNamara is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute, the author of the best-selling book, Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one), and is the Director of the Kid’s Best, Bet Counselling and Family Resource Centre.
We need to lead through conflict, preserve our relationship with each child, and help them understand the emotions that drive them.