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Teaching Kids Problem Solving Skills At Home

As parents and educators, one of the greatest things we can do is provide our children with the skills to
solve problems by themselves. Kids of all ages face issues daily, and teaching them the process to solve
these problems will help them become confident, independent individuals.

If your child is struggling with a problem at home, you can do specific things to help.

Teach Your Child The Sequence To Solve a Problem

  • Define the Problem: Defining the problem establishes a goal for what you want to achieve.
  • Brainstorm Solutions: Create a list of possible solutions.
  • Evaluate and Choose a Solution: The ideal solution will meet the goal, is efficient, and has the fewest
    side effects.
  • Implement the Solution: This step is about testing and feedback rather than trying to get it ‘perfect’ the
    first time.
  • Review the Results: Review what worked and what didn’t work.

Other ways you can teach your children problem-solving skills:

Model Problem Solving Behaviour
Problem-solving is often done in steps that can be slow and sometimes tedious. Model patience and
perseverance as well as how to follow a structured method.

Ask For Advice
When you face a problem, ask your kids for advice. This helps them develop problem-solving skills and
learn that everyone encounters challenges.

Learn From The Past
Oftentimes children will have encountered a similar situation previously. Have them think about a
comparable problem they have experienced in the past and how they were able to solve the issue. Teach
them that it’s okay to re-use strategies.

Ask Open-Ended Questions
While the easiest solution would be to give your child the answer, it doesn’t help him develop the skills
he needs to problem solve when you aren’t around. Instead, ask open-ended questions to help him
elaborate on his thoughts and provide a more descriptive response. Open-ended questions typically
begin with words like ‘why’ or ‘how’. A few examples of open-ended questions are:

What do you think would work best in this situation?
Why do you think this solution is the one that will work?
What will you do differently next time?

Emphasize the Process, Not The End Result
When you emphasize the process, it helps your child improve their problem-solving skills through effort
and practice and encourages a growth mindset. It also teaches them that the first solution may not
always be the best, and that’s okay.