How to Spark It

Tue, 31 Aug, 2021

How to Nurture Problem-Solving Skills in Kids

how to nurture problem solving kills in kids

One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is teaching them problem-solving skills. They will be faced with different problems at all ages. Instead of solving the problems for them, we must show that they are capable of doing it themselves.

Let’s look at some problem-solving strategies that parents can teach their kids.

5 Steps of Problem-Solving for Kids

  1. Identify the problem

    Ask the kid to say the problem out loud. When they articulate the problem themselves, they may understand the root cause of the issue.

  2. Develop possible solutions

    Once the problem is defined, brainstorm with your child the various possible ways they can solve the problem. Here, help them understand three things:

    1. Not all solutions will be good ideas

    2. Some seemingly good ideas may not work

    3. An idea that may seem silly or unlikely may actually be a good solution

    These problem-solving steps encourage the kids to be open-minded, not be stuck on one thing, and think creatively.

  3. Identify the pros and cons

    Once they’ve jotted the possible solutions, help them identify the positive and negative outcomes of each.

  4. Pick a solution

    After weighing the pros and cons of each solution, urge the kids to choose one.

  5. Test the solution

    Help the kids implement the chosen solution. If the solution doesn’t work, encourage them to identify the next best solution until one works.

5 Problem-Solving Tips Parents Must Know

  1. Ask open-ended questions

    Open-ended questions will help your kids arrive at an answer on their own. These questions can be

    • What do you think happened?

    • What did you think caused it?

    • Do you think that will make it work?

    • What do you like/dislike about the solutions you are thinking about?

    • Open-ended problem-solving questions for kids will help them navigate the problems logically and come up with a solution.

  2. Cultivate critical thinking

    Critical and creative thinking skills can be honed by urging your child to ask questions, rely on information they have, form hypotheses, and develop an understanding of the issue.

    Help them think outside the box to sharpen their creative thought process.

  3. Emphasize on process

    Teach them to reflect on the problem and ask questions while using their problem-solving ability. Let them know that the ‘process’ is as important as ‘results’.

  4. Acknowledge their efforts

    Regardless of whether the kid is coming up with good ideas or bad, acknowledge their independent efforts. This will boost their confidence and encourage them to keep trying.

  5. Allow them to make mistakes

    Let them make mistakes. This will teach them to be comfortable with failing, which is also an important lesson of problem-solving.

    However, assure them that you are there to help if they need it. Be patient through the process.

Teaching Problem-Solving Skills – An Age-wise Guide

3-5 years

Start problem-solving skills for kids by coaching them about emotions and teaching them how to manage them.

Begin by naming the emotions they are feeling and validating them. Next, let them feel and process their emotions freely as it will calm them before they solve the problem. 

Use creative game-based learning to make the problem-solving process fun as kids learn the best through play at this age.

5-7 years

Implement the 5 steps of problem-solving:

  1. What am I feeling? This helps the child recognise their emotions

  2. What is the problem? This helps them identify the problem

  3. What are its solutions? Here, you can encourage the kids to devise possible solutions.

  4. What would happen if …? The kids must evaluate and analyse their solutions and determine the positive and negative outcomes of each.

  5. Which solution should I use? Ask them to choose a solution they would like to opt for. If the solution doesn’t work, discuss why it might have failed and move to another solution, until the problem is solved.

7-9 years

This is the perfect age to develop the growth mindset for kids by teaching them how to break down the problem into manageable chunks.

Encourage them to brainstorm and ask open-ended questions to help them reach a solution.

9-11 years

Use creative problem-solving prompts to hone critical and creative thinking skills. When your child has a question or problem, help them work towards the answers on their own.

Teach them to organise, list, and reflect by writing everything down. This technique of problem-solving in child development will help them remember better and solve efficiently.

12+ years

Engage in mental stimulation through activities that nurture problem-solving abilities. This could be playing chess, learning how to build something from scratch, coding, and memory games.

Starting young will be beneficial for your kids. Try out PlanetSpark’s courses designed to develop your child’s personality by teaching essential 21st-century skills. They’ll help them become a confident and successful kid