Throughout the day parents can incorporate problem solving practice during the daily routine. For example, in the morning for breakfast prompt the child to try to figure out what he will eat, what he will wear and where you will go. During daily activities or outings try to encourage your child to use problem solving skills effectively. A variety of methods of problem solving might be used. He might list the options of the choices he has. For example, even a simple thing like making breakfast might be broken down into steps, list the choices of foods and choices of how to make the foods. If there is an argument in the morning with sibling over who can sit in a certain chair you might discuss the options. For example, maybe you can take turns each day sitting in that chair, maybe you can buy another chair like that one, they might ask for your help in working out a problem, or could bargain by offering another activity to his sibling in in in in in in using the chair.
Parents should use reinforcement for getting along. The research shows that co-operative play can be increased through the use of reinforcers. Parents can offer additional reinforcing activities if behavior is co-operative and appropriate in the morning. Social praise or special treats for getting along can be effective depending on what is reinforcing for your child. Remember to be specific when using praise. For example, "you are such gentleman the way you work together on making breakfast!" Another example might be "you are such a good brother and so kind helping each other to set the table!" Parents should try to reinforce only if play is co-operative and not if only one child is good following each activity.
Finally, practice at specific times during the day problem solving is helpful. Often parents have time while driving, waiting at a doctor office or at bedtime to practice problem solving with their child. For example, at bedtime the parent can review a situation, list some optional solutions, reinforce appropriate solutions and try to come up with other examples of this type of situation. Remember it is better to use hypothetical situations about other people, in a movie or from your experience rather than a situation your child has currently. If you use his current specific problem you may inadvertently reinforce him for having problems frequently with others. The more you practice solving problems that are imaginary then when he has real problems he will be ready to solve them quickly!