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ABCDE approach (for solving a problem)

The recipe for a positive and healthy relationship is time, trust and practice as discussed in Block 4: Relationships with others.

Adults, caregivers and friends are sources of support and encouragement to help children develop these positive relationships. Keep in mind that all children have their own temperament styles. Some may be outgoing and some may be quieter. There will also be times that there will be conflicts.

Caregivers and adults can help children find solutions and solve problems.

Here is one strategy:

ABCDE Approach A= Ask B= Brainstorm Solutions C=Choose a Solution to Try D=Do it! E=Evaluate

For Preschoolers:

A – What is the problem? Let child talk about the problem and how it makes them feel. B – Set limit on appropriate behavior. Ask their solutions or use a solution kit*. C – Let child choose which solution they want to try or model it for them. D – Try the solution. They can do this themselves or with you. E – Check in if the solution worked. Celebrate!

 *Solution Kit: provides a structure to help children effectively address peer conflicts. Children have cue cards either in a key ring, board or a container and when conflicts arise, the children can use these cue cards to guide them into solving their problems with or without an adult’s help.

(Solution kit idea from CSEFEL)

(Here is the link for Solution kit Cue Cards Template)

For Toddlers:

A – What is the problem? Use a Feelings wheel and help them label.

B – Give at least two ideas. You can use a visual for this.

C – Help them make a choice and make sure it is clear and specific. D – Try the solution. Make sure to support them through this especially with the language. E – Vocalize to them if the solution worked or not. Celebrate with a Hug or high five.

Activity: "And Then.."

(from Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister)


1. Choose a Picture or an Illustration from a Storybook

2. Build a story with your child/children using the illustration or picture

3. Each person will take a turn to hold the book and add to the story using “And Then..”

4. The end goal is to have a positive outcome to solve the situation.

5. Refer to ABCDE Approach to check how it was used in the story that you created.


(from Talk and Work it Out by Cheri J. Meiners)

- Use a picture or book that children are familiar of, especially the characters.

- Use real life situations that children have an experience on.

For Toddlers:

- Use a stuffed toy/character toy and other tangible items.

- Make sure it is short and simple.

- Use situations that are familiar to them

- Involve family members and friends in scenarios.

(from How do Dinosaurs play with their Friends? By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague)

(from I can Share by Karen Katz)

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