A few weeks ago, my husband and I were having a conversation about the things we wanted most for our children. My husband stated he wanted our son to lead a happy and successful life and while I agreed, I explained that as far as traits go, I wanted my child to always be able to figure things out and find a way through no matter what.
There is a lot to be said about good problem-solving skills. I do not want to do everything for my child, because one day, I know they will have to live in this world without me. Of course, I want them to be well-equipped to do the job right. To ensure that, you need to teach your child to have problem-solving skills. Below, I will go over 8 things you can do to ensure your kids become problem solvers, too.
1. Don’t constantly stand over them.
It may be tempting to constantly stand over your child and protect them. However, when you become a helicopter mom, your child has little time to think for themselves. In turn, they may become dependent on you to problem-solve for them. Instead, give them some room and observe them. Only interject when you truly need to.
2. Let them have free play.
Kids need free play to learn and to grow. Free play doesn’t mean handing them a tablet and walking into the other room. It means allowing them to play with other kids, without the technology, so they can develop the skills they need to problem-solve on their own.
3. Give them options.
When you are trying to get your child to do something, give them options. For example, at bedtime, instead of saying, “Go brush your teeth right now and put on your pajamas to get ready for bed,” say., “Would you like to brush your teeth first or put on your pajamas?”
4. Make problem-solving a fun activity.
Make your home a culture that revolves around problem-solving. When a problem arises, make a game out of it and enlist your child to help you figure the problem out.
5. Read problem-solving scenarios/stories together.
Go online and find problem-solving stories and scenarios. Read them aloud to your child and encourage them to help you find a solution.
6. Teach them problem-solving steps.
When it comes to problem-solving, there are some steps involved. Teach your kids the following steps.
A. Identify the problem (I am always late for school.)
B. Break down the problem into manageable parts. (I get out of bed too late, my clothes are never set out as mom asked me to, I always forget to do my homework, etc.)
7. It’s okay to let them fail.
It may be hard to do, but you need to get comfortable with letting your child fail sometimes. Instead of jumping in, as long as they are not in harm’s way, let them figure out how to solve their problem.
8. Enlist your children’s help from time to time.
Whenever a family problem arises, if it is appropriate, enlist your kid’s help. Ask them to help you break the problem down and find a solution together. Not only will this help your child to grow into a better problem solver, but this will also make them more resilient.