Play, games and sport have so many benefits for our children. Through them they learn the importance of winning and losing, as well as working together as a team and respecting both their team members and the opposition.

When everyone follows the rules, everything goes well; however, this is not always the way things eventuate. But don’t fear, this is not a bad thing! There are growing mountains of research that show the benefits to children when they are able to resolve their own conflicts just like these.

It is normal for children to push the boundaries; to test what they might get away with, to explore where that line of acceptability lies. And they try this out at home – with you, in the classroom with their teacher and on the playground with their peers. The important thing for you, as a parent, to remember is this: it is a natural (even healthy) part of their growth and development.

It is essential that we help our children to become good sportsBetter sports image by sticking to the rules, while at the same time mastering the ability to resolve spats and squabbles that inevitably arise from time to time.

It’s a certainty that at some time during your child’s schooling journey they will come home and tell you about an incident that happened at school that day, which resulted in some sort of disagreement. And while we all jump straight into protective mode, this can be counter-productive to their development.

It is SO important at times like this to remember that there are always multiple versions of what actually occurred and prematurely jumping in to “fix it” is the opposite of what is best for your child. What they need from you is to help discover how THEY could best find a resolution to the problem.

Of course this happens much more efficiently with the love and support coming from home, so next time your child tells you about an incident that happened at school ask yourself: “What do I need to do that will help my child resolve this themselves?”

Now it goes without saying that there are rare occasions that need a little extra assistance, but again the best way to do this is to work with your child’s teacher. Reacting in a negative way through social media or jumping on the phone to the parents of the other children involved very rarely results in a positive outcome.

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About the author: Tim Heinecke

Tim Heinecke is Australia’s number one student engagement guru. Being a father to four school-aged children as well as having been a school teacher for more than 20 years gives him insights into better ways to inspire young people. Tim is the founder of the Student Engagement Institute and he has shown thousands of teachers and parents how to better engage children in their own educational journey.