Inevitably, each school year this pops up, and when it does I love the teachable moment it provides. We were walking outside the other day and a kiddo came to me, upset that another kiddo waved his skyball in his face. I was talking with the upset kiddo and he said he felt like the other kiddo was picking on him; rubbing in the fact that he couldn't play skyball that day.
I do a lot of work with kiddos around I Statements and was working with him to word his feelings in this way so that he would be ready to chat and express his thoughts. Once he very proudly stated, "It really hurt my feelings when you rubbed the skyball in my face because I can't play today." The other little guy stopped and looked at him, stating, "I didn't realize that. I was just so excited that I got a skyball I wanted to show it to you!"
After that they had a brief conversation about the awesomeness of skyballs, and then I stopped them for a quick chat. I said something like this, "You know guys, I just realized something. Jack, you were upset because you felt like Cordell was picking on you for not being able to play skyball. And Cordell you were excited to get the skyball and wanted to share that with your friend, but didn't realize it would hurt his feelings. You know, sometimes we do things, and without meaning to we hurt someone else's feelings. Sometimes we just don't know what is going on with someone else, how they feel, and we don't know how our actions are going to effect them. This is a really important reason why we need to talk to each other."
Both kiddos thanked me when we were done chatted and happily ran down the stairs together. I truly do love moments like these, because it shows kiddos how necessary dialogue is. Dialogue like this encourages them to be honest while being kind. In the end, both parties demonstrate empathy and are empowered. In addition, the more we can help kids work through misunderstandings like these the more trust we build and they know that they can come to us for anything.