Conflict resolution management between young children

conflict resolution management early childhood education and care

You know the stressful feeling you get from fights, arguments, and disagreements – no one wants to be in situations like these.

And whether you’re dealing with conflicts with other adults or with children, you probably agree that no matter how much you want to avoid conflicts, they’re always a part of life.

Conflict between young children occurs, and most of the time, kids struggle to deal with their emotions and as such, manage the situation as a whole.

As an early childhood educator, you play an important role in helping children identify, deal, and resolve conflicts in a healthy way.

By doing so, children can reap considerable benefits when taught early on how to resolve and manage conflicts, helping them to grow socially and emotionally.

How do you resolve conflict in a childcare setting?

Young children in early childcare settings may encounter tension with other children over certain toys, friendships, and other wants.

Childcare educators may find this challenging to handle, especially when kids are still in the middle of their social and emotional development. 

When you enrol in a childcare course, you learn how to deal with conflicts between kids in a childcare environment.

There are different ways adults can help children healthily manage conflicts.

By doing so, early childhood educators help children learn how to recognise and manage their emotions, which can benefit young children by helping them to:

  • Develop their problem-solving skills
  • Learn how to evaluate conflicting situations
  • Improve their communication and listening skills
  • Encourage ways to show empathy
  • Build their self-confidence

When children learn the art of conflict management, they gain skills that help them throughout their whole life.

What are the five conflict resolution strategies?

Being a childcare worker means you need to think of different strategies to resolve conflicts between young children. 

Here are some ways childcare providers can help kids positively resolve their conflicts.

1. Stay as calm as possible

Conflicts are best resolved in peace. 

When children start to throw tantrums, be physical, or shout at each other because of their frustration, the best thing for you to do is stay as calm as possible and not panic.

Doing this encourages a peaceful and calm atmosphere where children feel more comfortable and better equipped to vocalise their emotions.

Staying calm sets the mood for open and honest communication. 

Childhood educators should maintain a calm attitude during conflicts. Apply an authoritative stance and firm voice (that doesn’t have to mean yelling!), and a compassionate, understanding attitude, paving a way for children to start conversations.

2. Help children describe and vocalise their feelings

For children to understand their feelings, you should help them describe them so that they can identify and understand themselves.

This can encourage both parties to express themselves better and communicate with each other.

Expressing their feelings will help you introduce simple questions that they can then ask themselves next time they find themselves in a conflict.

3. Encourage kids to be problem-solvers

When conflicts happen, children usually seek help from their teacher to help them manage their differences.  

Childhood educators can encourage children to think for themselves, and try to see a resolution before approaching an adult for help. 

Through this, you give room for children to think of ideas on how they can find ways to bridge any gap or misunderstanding they have with other kids. Of course, as the authoritative adult figure, you are always there to assist. 

4. Set some ground rules

When children are hyped up due to strong, heightened emotions, they often do not have the capacity to rationalise their feelings.

For childcare educators to manage these emotions, teachers must set ground rules for kids to have an open and honest discussion when resolving conflicts. 

You may need to set some ground rules for conflict resolution to take place, such as:

  • Both sides listening to each other
  • Everyone having a say (one at a time with no interruptions)
  • Both sides proposing a solution or desired outcome

5. Provide spaces that encourage conflict resolution

One good way that childcare educators can manage conflicts is to provide creative spaces and tools that can be used during conflict resolution.

This helps to ensure that conflict is resolved in a consistent manner, encouraging communication, calmness, and compromise whenever possible. 

What ways do kids solve conflicts on their own?

Children do not yet have the emotional capacity nor knowledge to manage their conflicts the way an adult does. Research has shown typical ways in which children try to resolve conflict on their own.

Conflict pioneers and researchers Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann developed the five conflict resolution strategies that people use when they face conflicts at any age – see where you think children might (even inadvertently) follow these strategies. 


This strategy is common to many when people try to ignore the conflict altogether. 

However, when conflicts are avoided, nothing gets resolved. Avoidance may be an easy solution, yet it’s extremely unrewarding and doesn’t encourage conversations and conflict resolution. It often leaves us feeling emotional, too.


Competing is rarely a solution to any conflicts. 

Kids may be too assertive and not cooperative enough; they want the other party to respond or they feel like they’ve lost the fight if they initiate conversation.


Accommodation may be a kind and gracious way to manage conflicts.

But it may immediately give way to the other party’s wishes and may make the other party more assertive and feel that they are more deserving of control in the situation.

You should always try to ensure that both parties get an equal say.


Reaching out or collaborating is one good way to manage conflicts as both parties are cooperative and assertive in the process. 

This is reached when both parties are willing to contribute and arrive at a shared solution that both can agree to.


Lastly, compromising may encourage both parties to be cooperative, and is an effective resolution to avoid conflict or an escalating situation.

Enrol in Academia’s childcare courses in Brisbane

Academia provides accredited childcare training to help you manage conflicts as well as teach and care for children in every other way.

We offer childcare courses in Brisbane to help you become the best childcare educator that you can be, paving the way for future generations.

If you want to influence, encourage, and support children in their most formative years, enrol in our childcare online training courses in Brisbane to become a qualified educator.

We offer two courses for early childhood education and care at both our Brisbane and Melbourne campuses.

Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113)

The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113) helps you learn the foundations of a child’s holistic development.

This course will teach you the basics of childhood care for babies, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Learn how to provide a healthy environment, build positive relationships, and teach young kids to manage conflicts.

The Certificate III childcare in Brisbane combines online or in-class training with a work placement period that helps you put your newly acquired skills into practice.

Learning outcomes include:

  • Supporting behaviour of children and young people
  • Developing positive and respectful relationships with children
  • Ensuring the health and safety of children
  • Supporting children to connect with their own world

Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113)

Striving for a leader or managerial position? 

Find out about how to lead a team of childcare educators, accreditation processes, and licensing requirements with the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care also helps future childcare trainers to:

  • Reflect and improve their own professional practice
  • Use approved learning frameworks to guide their practice 
  • Design and implement curriculum for child learning and development
  • Maintain work health and safety

Want to know more about our childcare courses? Contact Academia today!

Maximise your learning through Academia’s childcare courses in Brisbane and Melbourne.

If you have any questions about our childcare courses in Brisbane, our friendly team at Academia is more than happy to chat to you.
Contact us on (03) 9671 4755 or fill out this form to lodge an enquiry online.