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Teaching Your Kids Problem Solving Skills
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From the time your child first starts to learn about their world, they begin to face problems. While some “problems” are really just learning adventures, it's those first problem solving situations that lay the groundwork for how they will manage obstacles throughout their life. The best way to prepare them for larger complications is to start reinforcing their problem-solving skills while they are young.
Learn to Identify the Problem
Teach your child to identify potential problems. While some are more serious than others, they will all require some level of problem-solving skills to overcome them. Being able to identify a problem in its earliest stages makes it easier to find a solution. It's also important to teach your children that it is okay if they need to ask for help. Working together to find a viable solution encourages teamwork and shows your child that they don't always have to do things alone.
Look for Multiple Solutions
Always look for multiple solutions. Some parents ask their children to come up with at least five solutions, while others may only look for three or four. The severity of the problem at hand will also play a role in how many solutions may be desired. Once your child has come up with several possible solutions, go over each one to determine which one will provide the best possible outcome.
Choose the Right One
Each solution will have both good and bad results. Try each one to determine which solution will work best for the problem at hand. Carefully look at the problem and then determine what the pros and cons of each possible solution are. You may have to try each solution more than one time using different variables to ensure you are choosing the best one. Offer suggestions and provide them the guidance they need to find their own answers.
Use Problem-Solving Skills in Your Home
The best place to practice problem-solving skills is in your home. If mistakes are made, you can work with your child to correct them. Create scenarios that allow your child to take the initiative. Look for ways to challenge your child's thinking and then guide them through the process of finding the answers they need to create a viable solution. Help your little ones challenge one another and learn to find solutions together.
Encourage Your Children to Be Creative
Creativity and imagination are two things that children have in abundance. Encourage them to be as creative as possible and use their imagination! Some problems require a simple solution that doesn't take a lot of thought or skill. Others may require that your child pull out all of the stops and use every resource they have available to them. Make sure they have the tools they need and then take a step back and observe. Watch how their mind works and throw in an idea here and there. Always try to make learning as fun as possible.
Problem-solving skills are a necessary part of life. Teach your children early how to look at a potential problem and work towards a possible solution. Work with them. Teach your children to work as a team and always do what you can to inspire creativity. Hone their problem-solving skills early so they will be prepared to handle any situation they face as adults.