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5 Ways to Develop Child’s Problem-Solving Skills

“Problem Solving” gets thrown around in enrichment programs a lot!

But what does it mean? Why is it important for your child?

Problem-solving is the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues. It is the process of achieving a goal by overcoming obstacles.

The problem-solving skill is an essential life skill needed for your child's development. It is important because it prepares your children to face increasingly-complex academic and interpersonal issues as they mature. Learning how to approach and solve problems, both at home and school, can affect the quality of a child's relationship with others. Problem-solving also encourages creativity, which is key to success later in life.

Children who have advanced problem-solving skills face their daily life experiences with confidence, instead of running away from them. They will try to find a way to deal with their problem and solve it. They also tend to apply their problem-solving skills in their studies as well. They are not afraid of studying new things. Instead, they dive into the latest topics, understand concepts well, and are ready to continue learning.

Here are Five great ways to help your child develop his problem-solving abilities.

1. Encourage Free Play

Playing offers your child tons of problem-solving opportunities. Unstructured play, or free play, is especially impactful. Without set guidelines, children have the freedom to create, discover and establish their own rules. Yes, that means you as a parent have to take risks. But in this case, the rewards are much higher.

2. Teach Flexible Thinking

Building cognitive flexibility begins early. When children know there are choices and options from a young age, they begin to see all the possibilities.

You can start with:

  • Changing the daily routine in a small way. (“Do you want to take a bath before or after dinner?”)

  • Using words and phrases which promote “flexibility” (“Let’s see if we can try this another way”)

  • Brainstorming options for as many things as possible (pizza toppings, ways to travel, ice cream flavours or paint colours)

  • Deciding on a new rule for a favourite family game

3. Celebrate Failure

Children who fear making mistakes or failing are less likely to tackle their own problems. Discuss how failing often happens when we work hard and practice a lot.

Talk with your child about how mistakes prime our brains for learning. Give them an opportunity to boast about their mistakes and how they overcame them (and do the same with yours!)

4. Don’t Rush it!

The next time you are tempted to immediately solve your child’s issue, choose a different strategy. Often, your child just needs to hear the message that they are capable his/her issue.

It is also key to differentiate between “child problems” and “adult problems.” Make a list of issues with your child a parent should always help solve: when someone is hurt, in danger, or there is a safety issue.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Studies show that mindfulness promotes problem-solving. When we learn to quieten down, the answer often becomes obvious.

Simple ways to practise include:

  • Read stories and discuss how mindfulness helps each character solve his/her problems.

  • Take a walk together and count the number of different sounds you hear.

  • Praise your child for pausing or taking a deep breath before reacting to a challenge.

  • How we help!

It is important to develop a child's problem-solving skills from an early age. Mentalmatics places an emphasis on problem-solving in our programs. Your child will be guided on how to fully make use of their mental arithmetic abilities to develop their problem-solving skill.

To find out more, make a reservation to talk to us from the link below!

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