Problem-solving is a new approach in education that has been getting a lot of traction recently. It is a discipline that has gotten the attention of educators from all over the world. Some schools use robotics to teach problem-solving skills, while others take a more conventional approach, less reliant on tech. Nonetheless, every approach aims for the same goal – improving children’s problem-solving skills.
A 2010 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy even suggested that children lacking problem-solving skills tend to be more prone to suicide and depression than those who are more proficient in problem-solving.
Why Is Problem-solving So Important?
Children have to deal with all sorts of problems daily. Sometimes it is an academic problem, other times it is on the playground, something with their friends, etc.
Children with well-developed problem-solving skills are more likely to take some action to handle the problem or situation, unlike children that lack this life skill. Conversely, children that lack problem-solving skills are more likely to avoid the issue. More often than, that’s the reason why many children fall behind in school or lack social skills.
Then some children lack problem-solving skills and fail to recognize their choices when faced with difficulty. For example, when a child is teased at school chooses to walk out of class because they don’t see any other way to stop that. That’s an impulsive choice that has the potential to reproduce an even greater problem in the longer run.
How to Introduce Problem-Solving to Children?
When children see a problem they can’t solve, they often feel hopeless and overwhelmed. Consequently, they won’t even try to solve the problem. That’s why it is essential to show them how to approach problem-solving. That’s how they increase their confidence in themselves and their mental wellbeing, as well as in their ability to solve problems.
Here are a few steps on how to introduce problem-solving to children:
#1 Identify the problem
By simply stating the problem, you are helping the child. For example, “You are not sure if you want to go to that kid’s birthday party,” or “There is no one to play with while you are at recess.” That’s creating a foundation for what follows next.
#2 Brainstorm possible solutions
Tell them to try and figure out possible solutions. If you see the child struggling, propose some solutions. The idea is to understand that there is often more than one way to solve a problem with some creativity.
#3 Find the pros and cons of the given solutions
That way, the child can better understand both the positive and negative consequences that come out of every choice.
#4 Ask the child to pick a solution
Once all the pros and cons are identified, ask the child to choose a solution.
#5 Encourage them to test the solution
If the solution doesn’t work out as they thought, there is always the next solution in line.
That’s how you make your child practice problem-solving. It is a simple yet proven way to improve their problem-solving skills. Indeed, there are way more advanced problem-solution programs out there. They can take your child’s problem-solving skills to another level. However, these simple exercises can be a pretty solid foundation for all that.