Reasoning and negotiation skills

As your child grows, they are learning and developing social skills, including negotiation and conflict management.

Playing with others allows children to test and develop their social skills in a flexible environment. They are learning to make friends, play with others, take turns, negotiate and work as part of a team or community.

Your child is also learning to deal with emotions.

Talking to them about how they feel and asking them to think about other people’s feelings, or what ‘fair’ play is, helps guide your child’s emotional management and helps develop empathy.

Supporting independence

As your child gets older, they will want more independence in some things they do.  Support your child’s independence while developing negotiation skills by providing alternative options for your child, instead of saying no all the time.

  • Offer your child the opportunity to make their own choices from time to time.
  • This might be what to wear, what they want to eat or what games they would like to play (why not give them a choice of two things you are already happy with).
  • You might reason with your child to do something now, for a reward later, or explain that they would be helping someone by doing what you ask. For example, asking your child to pack up after playtime would make it easier for other family members to use the space too.
  • You can also help your child to try and think of a suitable course of action to take after a disagreement. This provides them with the opportunity to show independence and displays your respect for them.

Image Two children share as they play together in a sandpit

Published — 14 October 2016 Last updated — 02 November 2016

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