The foundations for problem solving are laid down in the first years of a child’s life and that’s when parents have the opportunity to really help their children. Skills can be trained, but when it comes to attitude you reach a certain point and then the foundations are laid.
If everything is decided for a child, they will not know how to come up with solutions to problems later in life.
Children with good problem solving ability have a growth mindset, or a can-do attitude, so they believe they can come up with a solution and grow and change.
They also have the grit required to face obstacles as well as memory and knowledge to evaluate and find solutions – so they are able to tap into a conversation, or a scenario or book they read that was close to this, in order to make the best call on the solution right now.
At our Shichida Early Learning Centres, in Melbourne and Sydney, we incorporate a lot of empathy value teaching in to the classes to encourage children to make the world a better pace by their contribution – this is a great way of increasing their Emotional, critical in problem solving.
William, from one of our Melbourne centres, lives near a train Metro crossing. After watching many accidents, with cars smashing into the level crossing – even once into his front fence – he decided to do something about it.
The then-four year wrote a letter to the government asking for “boom gates on both sides of the tracks to stop naughty cars going through”.
The letter found its way to his local MP who helped William personally hand the letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at Parliament House.
William identified the problem and came up with a viable solution.
Knowledge doubles every 12 months, soon it will be every 12 hours – this means that the next generations of kids will have to be able to think on their feet when thrown into changing and complex situations.
Here are five tips to help your children become an expert problem solver:
Emotional IQ: Ask questions to encourage empathy.
Choose your words: Praise the effort and encourage practice.
Encourage problem solving every day: Look at how you react when things don’t go to plan – you lose your phone or spill coffee on your shirt – your child will model your behavioir.
Take advantage of why questions: If parents don’t engage in the answer it’s a lost opportunity – instead of spending quality time as a learning opportunity, you’ve just negated their desire to learn.
Breadcrumbs and training wheels: Try guiding your child towards the answer rather then telling it to them outright – this will build their problem solving confidence.
The Carousel thanks Christian Aleman from Shichida Early Learning Centres for this article.