Developing Problem-Solving Skills at Early Age Takes Kids Long Way As They Grow
Every day, children face different types of problems ranging from academic difficulties to fights with friends to problems on the sports ground. Yet, very few of them have their own formulas to solve those issues.
Maybe your child is unable to find his science book or has forgotten his important notes with a friend or misplaced his lunch box at school, good problem-solving skills will help him manage his life better.
Problem solving forms a crucial aspect of a child’s development, giving them confidence and helping them to make good decisions when faced with difficult situations later in life.
Importance of problem-solving skills for kids
Kids lacking problem-solving skills often avoid taking action when a problematic situation arises. Instead of putting all their energy into solving the issue, such kids may invest their time in avoiding the problem. This is one of the main reasons why many kids fall behind in school or find it very difficult to maintain friendships.
International studies and child therapies suggest that children who lack problem-solving skills are at a higher risk of depression and that instilling problem-solving skills in a child at an early age can improve his/her mental health.
Having strong problem-solving skills improves self-esteem. Kids feel good about themselves when they conquer something that’s hard. Instead of giving up or getting frustrated when they encounter a challenge, kids with problem-solving skills manage their emotions, think creatively, and persist until they find a solution.
Teaching kids how to evaluate their problems
If they feel overwhelmed or hopeless, chances are high that they will not try to address a problem. But, when they are given a clear formula to solve problems, they will be more confident and give it a try. They need to be taught the formula step by step as discussed below.
- Identification of the problem
Identifying the problem and speaking up can make a big difference for children who are getting stuck. Help your child express and voice the issue, such as, “I don’t have anyone to play with in school,” or “I find it very difficult to solve math problems.”
- Development of multiple possible solutions
Finding different possible ways to solve the issue helps them understand the problem better and makes them ready to face such issues in future. Help your child develop solutions if he/she is struggling to come up with ideas.
- Talk to your child
Find a calm time to sit down with your child and talk about a particular incident. If your child refuses to participate without being abusive or refuses to participate at all, put one privilege on hold until you get through a calm, cooperative conversation.
- Identification of pros and cons of the solutions
Help the child identify every possible positive and negative effects of each potential solution he developed. Talk about what your child will do differently the next time this problem comes up. Allow your child to try to come up with an idea on his/her own. This will make them ready to face any undesirable consequence.
- Selection of a solution and testing it
Encourage your kid to try a solution and see what happens. Doing this will make them more courageous and determined in their goals. You can offer guidance when they require it, but they should be allowed to solve their problems on their own.
- The process of self-questioning
Encouraging children to learn structured self-questioning makes them independent and critical thinkers. Help your child describe what’s causing the problem and where it’s coming from. Train them to be specific and not indulge in wishful thinking or just say, “I won’t do it again.”
- Focus on One Issue at a Time
Talk about one problem and one problem only during this conversation.
- Be a role-model
You are the most important role model in your child’s life, even if he acts like you aren’t, so make sure to play the role well.
- Be realistic and don’t push
Remember to be realistic about your expectations and the results. Be patient and persistent, for the process takes time.
- Be positive and appreciate their efforts
Learn to reinforce positive behaviour by rewarding them with positive verbal recognition even at the smallest improvement. This will help children have faith in themselves and they will learn to deal with their problems in a better way as they grow.
- Failing is acceptable
Let them know that it’s okay to fail or falter. Inability to accept failure may hamper with your child’s ability to perceive his problems and work towards finding its solutions in a better way.
At KENNEDY HIGH the global school, we understand how important it is for a kid to become self-sufficient and able to deal with the issues he/she will face throughout his/her life. We believe in teaching basic problem-solving skills right from the preschool because it helps your child sharpen his/her skills and utilize them in the primary, high school and beyond. It is the responsibility of both parents and teachers to help the child develop problem-solving skills at an early age.