Improving Problem-Solving Skills in Kids

In this day and age, problem-solving skills are becoming a more and more important skill to have when entering the workforce. Because the job market has become so competitive, the ability to think outside the box can be crucial to a person’s success.

There are a couple of different reasons for this. One of them being the fact that many big companies are looking for those who are able to think creatively in order to solve problems. These individuals are more likely to help the company in times of crisis and are generally more efficient workers.

The second reason good problem-solving skills are helpful when it comes to finding success is because these skills tend to lend themselves well to running a business. Good problem solvers are creative, they have the unique ability to see a common problem and find a way to fix it, and they tend to be more flexible than those who have not developed out-of-the-box thinking.

As a homeschooling parent, you are well on your way to giving your child the problem-solving skills he or she will need to succeed in modern society. Through your decision to homeschool, you are showing your young student(s) that following the crowd is not always the best solution. You are also giving them the opportunity to think for themselves, something that traditional school settings do not always lend themselves well to.

That said, there are always ways to improve upon what you are doing well, and teaching your children this important life skill is no exception to that rule. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out for ways to help your children grow as problem solvers and give them plenty of opportunities to think outside the box and be creative.

Not sure how to go about this? Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

Ask Questions

When your child comes across a conflict, it can be incredibly tempting to offer up a solution. However, this has the potential to create the attitude of a follower in your child. Because you want your student to be a thought leader, it is better to ask questions about the problem and help them find an acceptable solution.

For instance, if your young child is in an argument with a peer over a toy, you might pull your kids aside and ask what the problem is. Help them identify the core issue as well as the barriers that are preventing the problem from being solved. Finally, ask him or her to come up with various solutions to the problem and help them decide which solution would be best for everyone involved.

Encourage Further Exploration

In a similar vein, it is important to avoid offering your child simple answers to every question they ask. This leads to a passive attitude when it comes to finding the information they desire, and does not give the child the information-finding skills they need in order to be a great problem solver.

Therefore, it is ideal that you help your child find the answers to their questions by suggesting they find books or websites on the subject. This doesn’t mean you cannot help the student, but it does mean you should avoid handing them every piece of information they ask for, choosing instead to have them work for it.

Teach Money Management

Think your seven-year-old is too young to understand how money works? Think again! All children should be taught the value of the dollar. Additionally, these kids should be required to cover their own financial wants. Not only does this give the child good financial sense, it also encourages problem-solving skills as they attempt to find new ways to fatten up their piggy bank in order to buy that beloved toy.

Give Opportunities for Experimentation

Oftentimes, a problem is solved only after a large number of mistakes. Give your kids the opportunity to make those mistakes and solve problems on their own by allowing experimentation whenever theycrave it. You can further support this practice by always having art supplies on hand, offering opportunities for teamwork with peers, and allowing your children the freedom to create and play as they see fit.

Offer Respect

Laughing at your child’s ideas or shutting down their creative play can quickly become discouraging to them. Try to respect your child’s thoughts no matter how silly they may seem, and when their ideas for what to play or do are too outlandish, try asking the child if he or she sees any issues with the plan. Once the child identifies the problems, ask how you can solve those problems and truly listen to what sorts of solutions they come up with. You might be surprised by just how creative your little one can be!

By using these tips you are sure to see a marked improvement in your child’s ability to identify and solve problems.

Want to do even more? You might consider enrolling your student in one of our Pretend Drama, Improv, or Odyssey of the Mind classes here at The Loop. All three of these classes offer incredible problem-solving opportunities in a fun, relaxed environment that you are sure to love.