Teaching Conflict Resolution to Elementary Students in 2024

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn how to help your students solve conflicts independently, then you found the right place! Conflict resolution skills prepare kids to face dilemmas and solve problems. Students who are able to solve conflicts by themselves or with others are more independent than students who cannot. In this post, we’ll go into detail about what conflict resolution is and why it’s important. In addition, we’ll share tips and ideas for teaching conflict resolution skills in an elementary classroom setting. Read all about helping students solve conflicts in and out of the classroom below!

conflict resolution word search and writing activities

What Does Conflict Resolution Mean?

Conflict resolution is when two or more people experience a problem and work together to reach solutions that will work for everyone involved. Conflict resolution is an essential part of interacting with peers.

conflict resolution word search, choice board, and writing activities

Why is it Important for Kids to Use Conflict Resolution?

It is important for kids to understand conflict resolution because it plays an important role in healthy friendship development. A child who experiences a conflict and doesn’t know what to do will likely experience negative feelings and not know how to negotiate them. It is important for kids to learn these skills so they can advocate for themselves and others when conflict arises. 

conflict resolution coloring page, looks like sounds like chart, and writing activities

How Do I Know If I Need to Teach Conflict Resolution in My Classroom?

The students in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom would benefit from conflict resolution lessons and activities if any of these statements are true:

  • They are getting into arguments with each other.
  • They cannot solve conflicts independently.
  • Students are struggling to compromise.
  • Students come to you first when they have a problem.
  • Students aren’t maintaining collaborative friendships.
conflict resolution flip book, example and non-example chart, and discussion prompt cards

3 Reasons To Promote Conflict Resolution In Your Elementary Classroom

Below are 3 reasons to promote conflict resolution in your elementary classroom.

1. Conflict resolution skills help students maintain friendship

Conflict resolution skills help students maintain friendships because they teach students that they can argue with a friend and that doesn’t ruin the friendship. It also teaches students how to work with their friends to work through their conflicts instead of letting conflicts get the best of them. 

2. Conflict resolution skills help students solve problems without adult support 

Conflict resolution skills teach kids to solve problems with their peers and independently. There are naturally some problems that students can solve by themselves and it is important to teach the difference. However, there are a wide variety of conflicts that will help students grow if they can solve them independently or with their peers. 

3. Conflict resolution teaches students to compromise 

Conflict resolution skills teach students to compromise. Compromise is a very popular strategy for solving conflicts and is an important life skill for students to learn. Compromise also helps students maintain collaborative friendships. 

conflict resolution discussion prompt cards

5 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Conflict Resolution

Below are tips and ideas for teaching conflict resolution to your elementary students.

1. Read Aloud Picture Books about Conflict Resolution

Picture books are a great way to introduce and teach an SEL topic. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge. Check out this list of picture books for teaching conflict resolution!

2. Watch Videos about Conflict Resolution

There are tons of free online videos out there that promote social emotional learning. It’s a fun and engaging way to teach SEL skills that your students will enjoy. Check out these videos for teaching conflict resolution!

conflict resolution scenario cards and example and non example sorting activity
conflict resolution flip book and scenario cards

Vocabulary words can help students develop understanding of Conflict Resolution and create connections through related words. Our conflict resolution SEL unit includes ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear, and use relevant vocabulary while learning. One idea for how to use them is to create an SEL word wall as students learn the words.

4. Provide Practice Opportunities

When learning any skill, students need time to practice. Social emotional learning skills are no different! Our conflict resolution SEL unit includes scenario cards, discussion cards, choice boards, games, and much more. These provide students with opportunities to practice the skills independently, with partners or small groups, or as a whole class.

5. Integrate Other Content Areas

Integrating other content areas with this topic is a great way to approach this SEL topic. Our conflict resolution SEL unit includes reading, writing, and art activities.

conflict resolution discussion prompts
conflict resolution flip book and scenario cards

Skills Related to Conflict Resolution

When discussing the social emotional learning (SEL) or character education topic of conflict resolution, which involves resolving disagreements or conflicts in a peaceful and constructive manner, there are several other words and phrases that convey a similar meaning. These alternative terms emphasize the process of addressing and finding solutions to conflicts. Here are some words used in the context of conflict resolution:

  1. Mediation: Facilitating communication and negotiation between conflicting parties to reach a resolution.
  2. Dispute settlement: The process of resolving disagreements or disputes through dialogue and agreement.
  3. Problem-solving: Collaboratively working through conflicts and finding mutually satisfactory solutions.
  4. Conflict management: Applying strategies and skills to prevent or mitigate conflicts and promote resolution.
  5. Negotiation: Engaging in discussions and bargaining to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
  6. Peacemaking: Actively promoting peace, harmony, and understanding in the resolution of conflicts.
  7. Diplomacy: Engaging in tactful and skillful communication to resolve conflicts and maintain positive relationships.
  8. Reconciliation: Restoring harmony and repairing relationships following a conflict.
  9. Conflict transformation: Shifting the dynamics of a conflict to create positive change and mutual understanding.
  10. Resolution techniques: Approaches, methods, or strategies employed to address and resolve conflicts effectively.

These words and phrases encompass the process of conflict resolution and reflect the principles of peaceful communication, negotiation, and problem-solving within the framework of social emotional learning (SEL) or character education.

conflict resolution word search, acrostic poem, and writing activity

Download the SEL Activities

Click an image below to either get this individual conflict resolution unit or get ALL 30 SEL units!

Conflict Resolution SEL Unit Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle
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In closing, we hope you found this information about teaching conflict resolution helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts.

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