Tuesday 17 May 2022

Helping Your Child to Become a Better Problem Solver

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Solving problems is something we have to learn to do from a very young age and it is something we continue to do for the rest of our lives. From simple problems as a toddler such as learning to move, grab and play to more complex problems as an adult, learning how to problem solve is a key skill. So it makes sense that learning problem solving skills early would be beneficial for any child, right?


One very important thing to remember is you should teach your child is how to solve problems in a healthy manner. Doing so will help them live more independently as well as become more confident in their abilities, not only this but they will be more likely to approach challenges with a more optimistic attitude. 

I have teamed up with an independent school in London to share some advice on how you can help your child become a better problem solver.

Encourage Persistence

When solving problems, persistence is often the key. If your child gives up too soon, they will never overcome the obstacle that they are faced with. With that said, try not to let them give up when the going gets tough perseverance is one of the key skills when it comes to problem solving. Having said that, it’s also important to know when you’ve exhausted all of your options, so try and help them understand how to find a health balance between not giving up too soon and not carrying on aimlessly.

Play Games

Lots of games, from board games to things like Sudoku or word searches are great for helping children become better problem solvers. There are even fun handheld "fidget" type toys such as Rubik's cubes which the whole family can get involved with trying to solve. You could also share some riddles with your child to see if they can figure them out, some of them are so easy once you know the answer it can totally change your perspective on the way you might look at future questions and riddles!

Promote Independence

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with helping your child, but if you give them all of the answers every time, they will never learn how to solve problems on their own. So, point them in the right direction but try and avoid solving problems on their behalf, as this won’t help them in the long run. If your child is reluctant to have a go encourage your child to try with the promise of help or guidance nearby or after a certain amount of time if needed. Examples of this can often be seen when children play together and fall out. Parents can be quick to want to solve the issue and not let it escalate, but left to their own devices more often than not kids can actually solve the issue themselves and come to a resolution or compromise. Of course its important for a parent to be nearby for this situation too, but give them time to try first. 

Identify the Problem

Before your child can learn how to solve problems, they need to know how to identify them. Why has this problem appeared in the first place? If they can figure out what caused the problem, they will find it easier to find a solution. Encourage your child to look at where the problem started, how it started and why it was able to get where it is now. It is also important to remind children that if other people are involved not to point blame unless they are certain as this can cause more issues. 

Praise their Efforts

Finally, praise! Whenever you notice your child trying to overcome a challenge, be sure to praise them for their efforts. Even if the solutions they come up with aren’t right, at least they tried. They can learn from these mistakes with your encouragement. Every mistake is a learning opportunity and if they want to or when they feel ready to talk, use the example to work through with them where things may have gone wrong and what could be done differently in the future. We all make mistakes and it is important to emphasise this to them, letting them know that even as adults we get things wrong and that it is ok, as long as we learn from them. 

How do you help your children develop their problem solving skills? Or are there any tips or skills you have learnt as an adult that help you? I would love to hear about them in the comments below. 


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