Kids nowadays are spoiled to receive a LEGO brick separator tool in their larger kits. Back in my day, we didn't have kits, or separators. If we wanted to split two quad plates, we had to do it the hard way: with pickaxe, tooth enamel and tears. Mostly, we gave up and built something else: Character.
But newfangled technology will always fail you, pitting man against Nature in the ultimate test. That's when your coddled child will come running to superdad the crusty veteran!
Superdad naturally wants to
minimize interruptions exploit this teachable moment, so he makes it a pointless obsession team effort.
Are human fingertips up to the task? Of course not. This is the top YouTube search result on separating difficult LEGO pieces:
The madman uses his bare hands. It's painful and difficult to watch. The commenters are suitably amazed.
For a 6-year old child, the madman technique is obviously impossible to replicate. Even superdad doesn't want to try it. Fortunately, there is an intelligent alternative:
This technique uses a flosser, which a child can do. Attack the corners first, and slide to open the sides.
The main challenge is to teach the child to hold the stuck piece by the edges rather than squeezing it tight again.
If no flosser, use a thin string instead. It's a good way to teach flossing dexterity. It also teaches how to be patient and methodical with a frustrating irreducible task.
A child may still lack the grip strength and dexterity to open it with flosser alone. That's OK, because now the pieces are separated enough to fit a fingernail. Attack the corners first, and slide to the sides.
The last step is the thumbs split. The child should sit cross-legged, with the stuck piece directly in front of her ankles. Place the piece on its side so that the seam faces the ceiling, aligned with the nasal bridge. Place both thumbnails in the seam, one thumb touching either corner. Gently pull the thumbs apart like a mouth opening. It shouldn't hurt.
If the child's fingernails are too short, then use the flosser until a toothpick will fit. Teach the child to hold the toothpick so that neither end can spear the hands. Hold it in fingertips around the middle.
Probably there's a safer option than a toothpick, but it's a decent way to learn respect for pointy objects, with something that can't do much damage unless it lands in an eye — which is always a risk anyway.
Heroes come in all sizes, and sometimes the small problems are toughest.