Problem Solving Skills in Children

Throughout our lives, we encounter many problems in every field. While we solve some of these without being aware of it, with our automatic reactions; we have to produce new solution strategies about some of them. Children, just like adults, face many problems during the day. They have to cope with situations such as not being able to swing their turn in the park, taking away their friend’s toy, being afraid to talk in class, missing their parents when they are away, losing their toy, obeying the rules. The reaction to these situations, the decisions taken and the way used to reach the solution form the problem solving skill.

Helping children gain problem-solving skills is very important for social and psychological development. It is seen that children who develop problem-solving skills from an early age experience less anxiety. In addition, a healthy ground is prepared for advancing ages. Having problem-solving skills also supports the development of self-confidence, as it contributes to the development of the belief that one can overcome the problems.

In order to develop problem-solving skills, it is necessary to have critical thinking, planning/organizing and evaluation skills. For this reason, it is very important to contribute to problem solving skills by supporting these skills in children from an early age. Supporting children in terms of defining the problem, recognizing the reflection in themselves (emotions, thoughts and even the reflection on their body), making decisions about them and putting them into practice helps them experience less anxiety and stress; It also greatly reduces the level of dependence on others.

Suggestions to improve problem solving skills in children;

  1. When your child encounters a problem, listen actively and try to understand. Ask only questions that will help you understand it better. Make a brief summary of what he has said to confirm whether you have understood it correctly. In addition to understanding the problem; Help him realize the emotions he is feeling, the thoughts running through his mind, and even what is going on in his body while all this is going on.

  2. If you observe that your child needs to calm down before going to the solution stage, help him and teach him ways to calm down so that he can use it in the future (e.g. counting to 10, slow breathing, touching something comforting, smelling his favorite / comforting smells, resting in a favorite area and doing an activity, etc.)

  3. Listen to your child’s solutions to the problem. Avoid rejecting or getting angry when there are options that you think are inappropriate. If there is an option that you think will work, encourage it to act. If your child is having trouble finding a solution, you can offer him different alternatives. You can tell stories involving your own problem-solving strategies or give examples from yourself. It’s very important that she knows she can get help if she has trouble finding a solution, and that this is perfectly normal. However, you should definitely avoid saying what to do directly or solving the problem instead.

  4. Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities in your home and social life. Fulfilling responsibilities helps increase self-confidence. A child with a strong sense of confidence will also feel less anxious about tackling problems and show more courage to take action.

  5. Ask your child’s opinion in situations that may or may not be problematic. Try to understand their wants and needs and make sure you understand. Show that you care about their opinions. The child, who feels that his presence, thoughts and voice have meaning and importance, will be more courageous in trusting his own thoughts and decisions in the face of problems.

  6. When the character encounters a problem in the movies you watch or the books you read together, take a little break and talk about it. What do you think (the character) is thinking? How does it feel? What can do to solve this problem? What would you do if it happened to you? You can chat with questions like: Then you can answer the same questions.

Examples for children’s books to help develop problem-solving skills;

  • If There Was One More Of Me/Peter Reynolds

  • Three Cats One Beast/Sara Hawkwing

  • What Do You Do With a Problem? / Kobi Yamada

  • Sheep That Doesn’t Like Shearing/Gemma Merino

  • Alas, My Heart Is Broken/Elif Yemenici

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