Teaching Problem Solving Skills To Kids
Unfortunately, were not born with the knowledge of having problem solving skills. It definitely is an extremely important life skill we all have to learn.
There probably isn’t one area of our lives that we don’t need to have the ability to be able to work through some problem or issue.
But why do some children seem to have trouble breaking that process down? Or better yet even some adults?
I do think there are some that have that, natural ability to problem solve. I’m not one of those!
So I struggle in that area as a parent. It’s not that I can’t problem solve, I just get a little too impatient and rush things.
I’m working on that, and I use myself as an example of “what not to do” when teaching to my children.
This leads me to the question of “How do I teach my children to have great problem solving skills”?
With me being a homeschool mom, this teaching skill relies solely upon me. All parents need to be teaching this even if you don’t homeschool.
You can actually start when your child is a toddler. They are already starting to figure out this world and can get frustrated very easily.
I would like to share with you what I found useful and beneficial for my children being able to problem solve on their own.
As parents, we would like for our children to be to solve problems on their own. We are not always around to help them out.
So if we are able to help them build these skills as they age, they can be successful at being able to solve any problem.
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Simple Ways To Help Your Toddler Problem Solve
I know what you are thinking, I questioned this myself a long time ago. How do you help a toddler problem solve when it can be impossible to reason with them?
You can’t reason with a toddler, but you can show them a way to solve what they may be frustrated with. I know when our children were toddlers they loved to mimic what we did.
I’m not saying that you need to be solving all things your toddler get’s frustrated with. But it’s ok when you have watched them struggle with the same task over and over.
Even as adults when we are trying to solve a problem and we are stumped at how to solve it, we may ask from others their advice.
There is no difference between you showing your toddler how to solve a problem, and you asking for advice from others to help you solve a problem.
So for an example, if I was watching any of my toddlers become frustrated I wouldn’t just run over and fix the situation.
I usually always waited for them to try it a few times, if the frustration turned into a fit or tantrum I would ask them if they want mommy to help.
Let’s say they were trying to stack maybe 3 blocks together, I would show them and then let them show me. I found it was easier for them to mimic me and it turned a frustrated toddler into a happy toddler.
Your toddler needs encouragement and finds small simple games that encourage them they seem to have fewer meltdowns, or at least that’s what I found with my own children.
Here are a few ideas you can to help reinforce those skills in your toddler:
Problem Solving Through The Preschool Years
This may be the most important age group to really start reinforcing a child’s problem solving skills. I have found that my children were so eager to learn at this age.
Here you really help build a foundation of the steps it takes to make your child become a good problem solver. There are so many activities you can do at home with your child.
Preschoolers learn so many things through play and using their imagination. There are so many ideas as parents that can use to help our children use problem solving techniques through play.
Our girls always loved playing dress-up. This was a good opportunity for me to ask them questions about who they were pretending to be, especially if they were someone that helped people for a living.
Asking simple questions let their imaginations about what problems or solutions they could help other people with.
Another great way to help build your child’s problem solving skills is to build with them. Legos or blocks is a good way to use those skills of building something that stands and doesn’t fall over.
Letting them manipulate the blooks into different structures helps them build and use strategy.
Also, puzzles and board games are huge in our house. Puzzles, especially for our youngest 2, really helped both of them because of having some special needs.
Believe me, there is not a puzzle that they won’t try to conquer. And of course, board games have played an important role in our family’s life.
We are huge board game players and I must say “very competitive.”
Here are some games that I recommend:
Helping Grade School Kids Strength Problem Solving Skills
When my children are having trouble with solving a problem I help them break it down into smaller pieces so it’s easier to strategize.
From this point it so much more manageable to look at the problem and come up with a solution. I still have to help our youngest daughter with this and it really seems to help.
As I said earlier that we like to play board games. Games really help at this age to use those problems solving skills and help them to strategize how they are going to play their next move.
Playing the game Sorry around here can get quite competitive and you really want to strategize to get all those pawns home first. We have the Disney addition of Sorry.
Crafting around here is also huge for my kids. Giving your children an idea of what to make and see what they come up with.
Provide them with materials from around the house or unusual textures from maybe outside. Let them use there imagination.
Use this opportunity to discuss how they came up with the solution to building from the idea you gave them.
Coding and playing some video games are good for kids to play and do. Both of our youngest like to play Minecraft and I really watch them strategize on how to build worlds.
I like to see them problem solve together also. Working with a sibling or a peer can help them boost those skills.
For older kids doing a rope course or even an escape room is good to build those skills and also to learn how to work as a group to problem solve together.
Another good game for kids is Chess. Our son started teaching himself and he really seems to enjoy it. He has a chess set and plays the game on the computer.
There really is no end to teaching and exploring new ideas for children to learn problem solving skills.
The older they get the more complex problems can be. Setting them up with the basic skills in problem solving will better their chance at becoming to solve any problem that they come across.
We want our kids to be confident and not to be overwhelmed with frustration. Raising and having kids that are independent thinkers sets them up for success as individuals.
I also have some other post on other important post you can read here:
Here are some books that I recommend to help kids better understand Problem Solving:
I hope you found this post useful and would love to hear back from you!
Domestic Engineer Mom