“Luca had a small accident with one of his fingers. It’s not bad, the nurse took care of it, it’s alright now, but we thought we’d call you so you can take care of it at home.”
These sorts of accidents are inevitable, and this one, even if it was our first, is just trivial for most parents. But what makes it interesting is the way the teacher chose to manage the moment and I believe that her approach was as simple, as it could be useful for all parents with more than one child.
Because in the evening, when we pick up the kids, things are a bit crazy, the teacher preferred to call me and tell me what had happened over the phone. She also told me how she managed the situation. Those were two valuable minutes of my life. And today I would like to share that with you.
Outside, in the courtyard, Luca was playing with two other children that he gets along with. They were in a tiny plastic castle and playing knights and dragons. At some point, Luca grabbed the side of the plastic door and wanted to pull it in his direction, to close it. At the same time, another little boy pushed the door, and a finger became collateral damage in the game.
Luca screamed! And right then, the management mechanism I want to describe to you today was set into motion. And in this case, it made a great difference.
If you have two or more children, then you know that accidents and conflicts happen every day. It’s not enough that they fight one another for insignificant reasons. But these situations, that maintain the tensions between brothers, can lead to long-term conflicts, when kids don’t know how to manage things differently.
When you implement this simple method, you will see how the tension dispels and how their relationship will be strengthened indefinitely! With moments like this, you can encourage their brotherly love, and you can do it any time, no matter how young they are!
At first, I didn’t even realize how important this lesson was. During the next few days I kept thinking about it and I had a wow! moment thinking about how easy it really is to manage conflicts between two kids!
This is exactly why I thought I’d share this with you, a solution that will come in handy for parents with more than one child.
Here is how the teacher decided to manage the incident in which a little boy caught another little boy’s finger in a plastic door and what the children gained from this experience:
1. From the very beginning, the other child, D., was not scolded.
2. Along with the teacher and the other little boy, Luca went to the nurse’s station. She quickly examined him and put some ice on his finger.
3. The teacher asked (did not force) D. to hold the ice bag on Luca’s finger.
4. Without being asked to, D. apologized, and Luca would tell me home later that D. caught his finger, but then apologized, and put ice on his finger and that all was eventually OK. I didn’t even cry!
5. At the same time, the teacher told both of them that they needed to be more careful, that it’s fun to play, but those accidents can happen all the time.
6. After a few minutes with the nurse, the teacher asked D. to take care of Luca for the rest of the day, considering that his right hand finger hurt and had reduced mobility. Even if the teachers were the ones who helped him dress / undress / eat (lunch was right after the accident) and with all his other main needs, D. stayed with Luca the entire day and took his role very seriously.
Throughout the entire day, Luca and D. got along great and there were no tensions between them ever since, and Luca (and D. as well) learned 5 very important lessons!
First of all, accidents happen! That does not mean that the one who caused the accident must be scolded, embarrassed, isolated or punished!
The second lesson was that both kids involved in the incident were also involved in solving it. D. did not carry on playing, while Luca went to see the nurse. But it wasn’t punishment for D. either! By accompanying Luca, D. got to observe what happened, what the consequences of his actions were, but he was also actively involved in the solution: he held the ice on the finger, encouraged Luca, kept him company and then “took care of him” throughout the day.
The third lesson was when D. had the chance to make things right. Now, the teacher guided him (took him to see the nurse, asked him to hold the ice etc.). But in the future, D. will know hot to handle things in a similar situation, because he had this first guided experience.
And for Luca it was very important to see D. by his side. And even if he wasn’t the one who got hurt, D. would have still felt guilty, like he had done something wrong. And he would have taken it out at home, most likely: he would have been very emotional, thinking that maybe the teacher would tell his parents and what would happen then.
Just a quick exercise: do you remember how you felt when you did something wrong? The nervousness, the anguish.
And what would have happened if his parents hadn’t known what had happened? They would have scolded him for being unruly, agitated, they would not have understood his real emotions and the real reason for why he felt bad. At the end of the day, we would have ended up with two frustrated children.
The fourth lesson was empathy: D. saw Luca, related to his pain and got involved in making it better. Even if Luca was the one who got hurt, he saw how two classmates need to behave in such moments: they need to help each other and be by each other’s side, not to run or lie or hide. To calmly take responsibility, because nothing bad will happen: no punishment, no embarrassment or scolding.
Here’s how such a trivial situation can be turned into a valuable experience for your children. I’m glad that Luca’s teacher used this approach. I’m glad she decided to tell me about it. And fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel whenever it comes to beautifully raising healthy children.
All the secrets lie in these simple, accessible, solutions, that really help you set the foundations of a quality education!
Have a beautiful day!
Photo source: www.pixabay.com