Exploring Conflict with Wonder: A RIE® Approach to Toddler Play

Parents and caregivers often want young children to play peacefully. Sometimes they are overly concerned about the concept of “sharing” and making sure they enforce fairness. In our RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes, we try to approach conflict with wonder:

  • I wonder what is going on…
  • I am going to get closer to make sure everyone is safe
  • Narrate what we see. It helps children process information.
  • Give a moment for children to come up with a solution.
  • And often toddlers have great ideas!!

I got this message today from one of my online RIE Parent-Guidance classes: “I wanted to share my experience today with another caregiver and myself as well as Lucy and her new friend. I was talking with the caregiver while Lucy (2.5) was playing with her friend Sam (just shy of 3). Lucy had a grocery cart full of items and Sam grabbed into her cart and pulled out two muffins. Lucy started to reach for them because they were hers but Sam held onto them.

Sam’s caregiver wanted to intervene by telling Sam he had to share. I asked her if we could just watch for a moment to see how it played out. She was agreeable.

I really wanted to see how Lucy would handle the situation since she isn’t around her peers very often.

Completely unprompted, Lucy asks, ‘Hmm, what should I do?’.

I did a little sportscasting and asked her where she got the muffins from. And then it sparked her to go get some more muffins.

Then, of course, they both loaded the cart full of muffins and lined them all up!

A little while later, I saw them both playing collaborative together by putting the groceries in the fridge.

I am grateful Sam’s caregiver was open to observation. It really allowed me to see the problem-solving of Lucy but also it was refreshing to see Sam be supported in his play.

I don’t know I would have ever approached it this way, had it not been for RIE, my time in class, and Kira’s guidance!”

Let me know if you need more information about RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes.

Wishing you all the best in this difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!


Teacher Kira

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Parent-Infant Guidance™

Visit us at www.RIEpasadena.org or contact Melani  Ladygo at melani.ladygo@rie.org 

or call me (626) 241-2419
to learn more.

Facilitated by a RIE® Associate, small groups of parents and babies come together in a relaxing, infant-friendly environment to make friends and enjoy learning together.


What will you and your child learn in RIE class ? Children move, explore, discover, play and learn.


Tips and ideas how you can build connection and cooperation with young children in your family.

Coffee with Kira

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