There are many adults complaining that the kids these days don’t know how to solve their own problems. Some blamed it on helicopter parenting where parents hover and solve every issue for their precious child. Whatever is the cause, it is still important to teach young kids problem-solving skills so they can be self-sufficient when they grow older.
Here are a few ways to help them!
1. Don’t be a “Helicopter Parent”
Helping kids too much prevents them from learning from their failures. If parents constantly fix issues, it takes away their ability to problem solve because their approach will be “Don’t worry. My parents will fix it.”
2. Encourage creative and imaginative play
Kids learn best through play. They learn how to think creatively while playing with toys such as wooden blocks, building a fort using whatever that is available and play make believe games. Remember to make sure the play involves enough challenge and requires imagination.
3. Make it challenging
Occasionally, parents can build in roadblocks to help them think. The difficulty must be reasonable and make sure the solution is possible.
4. Provide multiple solutions
Parents can still facilitate decision making by making several solutions possible. If a default solution is assigned, the kids may avoid making tough choices.
5. Guide them with basic steps
Teach them to first identify the problem such as “I always miss the school bus.” Then guide them how to break problems into manageable parts. It is helpful to make a list first so they can see and not feel overwhelmed, as follows:
- I sleep late
- I didn’t brush my teeth
- I can’t find my shoes
- My bag isn’t packed
With the list done, discuss with them how to approach the problem and tackle the issues one by one.
6. Approach problem-solving in a fun manner
Problem solving sounds like a dreadful chore when we actually solve problems every day. Make it fun by approaching family challenges with a positive attitude. It can even be a family motto or value.
7. Use stories to inspire
There are many children books that inspire kids to be problem solvers. Stories of sleuths like Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Percy Jackson and Geronimo Stilton encounter and solve problems one at a time. They can even read about famous inventors and how they got the idea to create something that benefited many people.
8. Tackle DIY projects together
Kids mimic the adults in their life. If they see their parent attempting to learn how to DIY something, they will aspire to learn and help as well. It also shows them that problem solving is a part of everyday life.
9. Let kids experience failure
Yes, it’s hard to see the kids looking lost, sad and helpless but it is the only way they learn how to be self-sufficient and independent. If we’re not willing to let them fail at times, we’re preventing them from growing.
10. Ask for their help too
Kids will appreciate problem solving skills if the adults acknowledge the kids have the ability to do so. To show that you believe in them, ask them for suggestions and brainstorm solutions together. They may surprise you with their creativity.