We are so fortunate to be therapists now with so many resources available to work with children. There are days that I think my entire practice consists of children who can’t get along with peers or siblings. In addition to allowing time for play and discussion, I find that board games and role play are really useful for teaching cooperation skills.
Here is a partial list and description of some of the relevant games available from childtherapytoys.com. Learn more about each game by clicking on the game title.
Both The Social and Emotional Competence Game and My First Therapy Game (ages 6-14) are excellent for getting to know children and helping them to begin thinking about cooperating, sharing, communicating and other social skills necessary for conflict resolution. A very nice series of games that foster social and emotional competence and help avoid getting into conflict are: No More Arguments, No More Teasing, and No More Bullies (ages 6-12).
Many children with conflict issues also have anger issues and need strategies to “cool down” before they can cooperate and resolve conflicts. Both the The Angry Monster Machine Game (ages 5-10) and Furious Fred (ages 7-12) are helpful (see earlier post about games for anger management). More recently published games include Intelligent Anger (ages 10-14) and Escape from Anger Island (ages 6-12).
Of course, The Conflict Resolution Game(ages 6-12) and Conflict Busters(ages 7-12) are obvious choices. Treasure Time (ages 6-12 & ages 5-8) is available in two versions and addresses a range of issues associated with cooperation and resolving conflict. Many children experience conflict because they don’t understand the connection between behavior and consequences. Rules & Reason(ages 5-10) is a board game that addresses this issue. Consequences teaches similar skills and is fun for younger children (ages 3-10). Always Play Fair (ages 6-12) uses a sports theme to discuss pro-social behaviors.
Journey to Friendsville (ages 6-12) is a new game that teaches a variety of skills, including conflict resolution. Understanding others, empathy, and effective communication are necessary skills for conflict resolution. Another new game, from the author of the Ungame, is Out of Your Mind (ages six through adult). I also like A Day in the Life(ages 6-12), which takes players through the day of someone who must handle multiple conflicts with peers and authority figures.