How Can We Teach our Children Problem Solving Skills?

How Can We Teach our Children Problem Solving Skills?

When your child has a problem, view this as an opportunity to teach and connect!

Have your child explain the problem to you in their own words, without interruption. This will help them develop language to get help in future; to break the problem up into causal steps; and to begin to identify concepts of control and causality.

Show your child that you understand the problem before you give them advice. Listen to your child’s feelings in response to their problem. Label the feelings. For example: “It sounds like you felt frustrated when your toy wouldn’t work the way you expected”, or “I wonder if you felt lonely when your friends went to recess without you”.

Show your child that you are both engaged in the problem solving process by using ‘we’ language when you both brainstorm. For example: “How could we solve this problem?”, “How could we make things better for you and your sister?”,  “What would you like us to do about that?” or, “Let’s come up with some ideas together.”

Let your child come up with some ideas. Praise them for trying to find solutions, even if they sound silly, wishful, or impractical. “That’s an interesting idea! You’ve got your thinking cap on. What else could we try?”

Together make some decisions about the best idea to try: “Which one should we try first?”. You might have to ask them which option is the safest, or how some options might make other people feel:  “If we tried that, how do you think your friend might feel?” “That sounds like it might be tricky. How could we do that safely?”

Review! After trying out some solutions, talk to your child about how it went. Use each opportunity to progress learning for next time. Know that each time your child solves a problem with you they are learning a lifelong skill.

This blog was written by Vida Psychologist Melissa Bourchier. To learn more about Melissa’s experience click here, or to book an appointment with her click here.

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