By Daddy Nickell
Problem solving is a skill we all utilize day-to-day within our lives, but how did we learn it? It’s not the easiest thing to teach; however, there are many ways in which we, as parents, can help our children become excellent problem solvers.
With seven kids of my own I’ve learned that there are lots of ways to help teach problem solving to children. Here are my top four tips:
1. Let Them Try It: One was to help teach kids to solve problems is to let them figure out certain age appropriate things on their own such as zipping up a coat, buttoning a button, tying their shoes, etc. This will instill a sense of confidence in your children as well as encourage them to solve problems as they arise. It can be quite rewarding for a child to discover something on their own; it will boost their confidence and build their problem solving skills.
2. Discuss Problem Solving: Talking out loud and discussing problems with your child is a great way to teach them problem solving skills. By doing this you can better understand where they’re coming from and the path they’re taking to understand and solve the problem at hand. The discussion of the problem will allow you, the parent, to help without you directly solving your child’s problem for them. Ask your child questions that might guide them closer to the answer, and listen to their ideas in order to better steer them in the right direction.
3. Be a role model – always: Your children are watching and learning from your every move, so make sure your actions send the right message. When you encounter a problem don’t get frustrated, but instead calmly solve it. Encourage your child to keep trying when problems are tough and help them when they really need it. You probably don’t think about the many problems you solve everyday in your work life or at home, but watching how you handle those problems or situations can be a great learning experience for your child, and will give them a better idea of how to solve their own problems properly in the future.
4. Start Young: Teaching kids to solve problems should begin at a young age. Beginning as infants, children learn, change and grow every week. So you should help teach them problem solving skills beginning at a young age. Let them work some things out on their own, and they’ll be better problem solvers in the long run. Of course it’s important to start small with babies and expand upon the problems you let your children solve alone (with your supervision) as they grow.
I hope these tips will work for you as I’ve found them successful in the past within my own home. Teaching skills you know your child will utilize and expand upon throughout their entire life can be quite rewarding – it’s definitely worth the extra effort!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.