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10 Ways to Help Kids Become Better Problem Solvers

Promote Problem Solving Skills in Kids

Majority of parents/guardians or tutors believe that it is their key responsibility to make their children’s life easy and owing to that, they try to solve any problems that their kids come across. Although, it is not possible for them to always be there for their children whenever they face problems or any sort of difficulties. Solving all the issues and challenges their children may face is not their job. However, it is their duty to teach them and make them capable enough to find solutions to any problems they may come across. If kids learn to take care of little matters on their own from a young age, they will grow up to be better problem solvers in the future.

Children face a variety of problems every day ranging from academic challenges to peer pressure to extracurricular activities. Some children find solutions to overcome such issues whereas some with poor problem-solving abilities might hesitate and choose not to act. Instead of making an attempt to resolve the issue, they would concentrate on avoiding it. However, if parents or tutors provide kids with proper mechanisms for problem-solving, they will be more confident in their capacity to attempt and resolve problems.

Importance of Problem-Solving Ability in Kids

1) Children gain the ability to solve problems on their own, without assistance from an adult. As a result, they become more self-assured, independent, confident, and successful individuals.

2) They become more capable and efficient in coping with life’s daily challenges.

3) Problem-solving ability enables children to become more critical and logical thinkers.

4) It assists them in developing a thought process that is effective and realistic as well as unique and innovative/creative.

5) Children that are stronger at problem-solving also have a better grasp of complex concepts, which aids in their academic development.

Ten Ways to Help Your Children Become Better Problem-Solvers

It’s important to teach youngsters how to deal with and solve problems rather than having them avoid them. The following ten recommendations may assist you in strengthening your children’s problem-solving skills –

  1. Avoid being a typical “Helicopter Parent”

Helicopter parenting refers to a parenting approach where parents are unduly focused on their children and are overly involved in their kids’ life. This parenting style is not considered a healthy one, thus you must ensure that you give your children enough space and liberty. Regardless of their age, you must let your kids make errors and then help them learn from them and how to handle similar difficulties/problems in the future.

  1. Ask for their opinion

You can ask your children to help you come up with solutions for simple day-to-day matters. For instance, you could ask them which dress to wear for a friend’s wedding or which cereal to purchase. When you seek the suggestion of your children for certain matters, they learn that they are not the only ones who have difficulties.  They will feel empowered to find solutions on their own and voice their opinions if you show them that you appreciate their ideas.

  1. Discuss your problems with them

Tell your children about your problems or the challenges you may have come across previously. Discuss with them how you overcame those difficulties and found a solution successfully. These real-life experiences encourage children to be more proactive. Conversing about these everyday challenges helps them develop the ability to think fast and efficiently and come up with innovative ideas when the going gets tough.

  1. The art of remaining calm

Being calm and composed is one of the initial essential stages towards tackling problems successfully. A fundamental human emotion is anger/frustration. When that feeling spirals out of control, it becomes more challenging to respond to the situation logically and there is a greater desire to act impulsively. As a parent, you must educate your children to remain calm and take deep breaths when they feel their emotions are out of control. Explain to them that they can assess the problem efficiently once they have calmed down.

  1. Basic steps for problem-solving

While helping your troubled youngster solve their problems, consider the following problem-solving steps –

  • Identify the issue your child is struggling with.
  • Carry out a brainstorming session with them to come up with possible and feasible solutions.
  • List the pros and cons of each of these potential solutions.
  • Based on the above list, encourage your child to choose the best suitable solution.
  • Tell your child to test the solution and see if it works. If the problem still remains unsolved, try resolving the issue through another possible solution from the list.
  1. Do not provide solutions immediately

It makes sense that it would be upsetting for a parent to see their young children struggle with their problems. As difficult as it may be, do not be in a haste to provide them with the solution. Don’t be afraid to let your kids struggle. Give them room to grow through these challenges, even failures, and eventually learn from the consequences. You can help them out by giving them little hints to solve the issue. They can develop their creative problem-solving skills in this way.

  1. Let things play out naturally

Do not interfere when your child is in a non-harmful and trivial yet challenging situation. Sometimes the best response for certain situations may be to allow it to run its course naturally. For instance, your child may have neglected to complete the homework that is due the next day because they spent the whole weekend playing video games. In this scenario, let them attend school and deal with the consequences of their choices. This will allow them to make more informed and timely decisions in the future.

  1. Ask questions

Asking questions about specific problems improves children’s ability to think logically and creatively. Have them answer open-ended questions more because these questions cannot simply be answered by a “yes” or “no” and requires kids to think critically before answering. While solving a problem, you could ask them questions such as –

  • What can we do to solve this issue?
  • Tell me what you think about this problem.
  • What will happen if we choose to fix the problem this way?
  • What lesson did you learn from this?
  • Which aspect of the proposed solution did you find the easiest or most difficult?

Responding to these questions while solving a current problem or even a fictional one will enable your children to think of distinct ways, they can solve problems in real without much assistance from others.

  1. Say the problem out loud

When you feel your child needs your assistance in resolving a particular matter, talk to them and ask them to express their views and emotions regarding the problem at hand. It would be beneficial for your children if they could openly describe what they are going through and express how they feel about it. It is quite constructive to discuss the matter with a close friend or a member of the family. Young children benefit from this method because it gives them perspective and makes it simpler for them to think of potential answers.

  1. Split the problem into manageable chunks

Encourage your children to split the complex problems into smaller and more manageable bits when they appear to be daunting or intractable.  Divide the issue at hand into doable portions so that the problem does not seem insurmountable. For example, your child obtained less marks in math. Go through the reasons behind their low scores and the root of the issue with your child. If your child received low marks because of – a lack of conceptual understanding, being easily distracted by friends or classmates, or having difficulty asking teachers for help – determine these chunks and assist your child in addressing them one at a time until the entire issue is resolved.