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  • Writer's pictureShannon Kelly

Problem Solving Skills in Children and Teens. How Do we Encourage this?

Updated: Feb 13

Problem-solving skills are essential for children and developing strong problem solving abilities will contribute to their overall development and success in many aspects of their life. Nurturing problem-solving skills in children prepares them for the complexities of life, thus promoting lifelong learning, and a foundation for success in both their personal and professional world. At Creative Sky Psychology, learning to manage life's stressors as well as developing internal motivation to become a good problem solver is a key aspect of our work. When children and teens get excited about learning how to solve their own problems, real change can begin to occur! Often there are barriers that children need to overcome to become savvy problem solvers. This could be fear of failure or making mistakes, anxiety, stress, or various challenges that are impacting a child's ability to hone in on their abilities to problem solve.

Here are a few ways parents can begin to develop and foster problem solving skills. 

Encourage critical thinking - Pose open ended questions for your child that require both thought and analysis. Discuss various perspectives on issues and problems, furthermore discusses potential solutions. 

Puzzles and Brain Games - Introduce your child to age appropriate puzzles, riddles and brain games for your child to solve and stimulate their critical thinking skills. Games like chess, crosswords and sudoku are great for older kids!

Model Problem Solving Behaviour - Kids learn by example. By showing and explaining to them how to approach a problem they can gain persistence. Talk through the steps and make it clear for them to understand. 

Read and Discuss Stories - After reading a story together discuss the plot, characters and moral dilemmas. Additionally, Discuss how the character went about solving their problem and what tools they were able to utilize. 

Independence - Problem solving skills can allow for children to tackle issues independently fostering a sense of self-reliance. These skills of independence will be a building block for their future and many times result in leadership qualities. 

Always remember to tailor these approaches to your child's age and interest. As a parent it is important to provide a supportive environment to foster their independence, confidence and problem solving skills. 

Psychologist and child in session

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