As children grow, they encounter many obstacles in their lives—challenges to be overcome, priorities to juggle, and complex decisions to make. For parents, it’s natural to want to solve some of those problems for their child.
You shouldn’t. In reality, problem-solving is one of the most essential skills a child can develop.
Here’s a look at why and what parents can do to foster those skills for success in academics and life.
The Importance of Problem-Solving in Child Development
In a traditional education structure, children progress through learning mechanically. The goal of such education is to create productive workers, and in that respect, it excels. However, it also stamps out individuality—and problem-solving.
In the real world, children will encounter complex problems all the time. These may not happen in a progression, or any logical order, for that matter. Traditional education is concerned with high test scores, but it doesn’t prepare children to think as independent adults.
That is why problem-solving skills are essential for children.
Problem-solving starts with identifying the issue. From there, you develop a set of potential solutions to achieve your desired goal and analyze them to choose the best one. After that, you implement a plan, set it in motion, and assess your effectiveness.
This requires multiple layers of analysis, critical thinking, and planning to tackle more significant, more challenging problems as children grow up. In other words, by practicing these skills early, children develop the tools they need to solve real-world problems.
Problem-Solving Skills to Foster
There are a wide variety of problem-solving skills that parents should foster.
The biggest ones on the docket are critical skills, primarily critical thinking skills such as deduction, abduction, and induction. These go hand-in-hand with creative thinking skills and more advanced analytical thinking, such as convergent and divergent analytical thought.
Another big problem-solving skill is conflict resolution. Conflict is something that many of us are uncomfortable with—our natural tendency is to restore the peace and reach for what’s easy, even if it doesn’t resolve the key issue. Children who learn (and get comfortable with) conflict resolution do better navigate it as an adult.
Last but not least, children also need to master the art of overcoming setbacks. Even though they analyze solutions going in, the solution they choose may not prove to be the right one. Figuring out what went wrong and how to bounce back from it teaches children resilience.
How to Nurture Problem-Solving Skills
As a parent, there are several good ways to nurture problem-solving skills.
First, always model good problem-solving. When you think through a problem, do it out loud. This teaches kids to think through their processes, and young children often imitate their parents.
Second, don’t provide your kids all the answers. Instead, ask them more questions. It will be tempting to give an easy answer, especially if you’re tired and your child is asking a question for the hundredth time, but asking questions teaches kids to ask themselves those questions, which in turn sets them up to think through a problem.
Last but not least, make sure that your child’s education supplements the work you do at home. Look for a curriculum that focuses on problem-solving skills, not just rote academics.
Think Outside the Desk for Stronger Academic Performance
Here at Inspire Academy, we know that problem-solving is essential to strong child development. That’s why our unique approach is all about using a child’s curiosity and natural sense of wonder to teach kids how to solve problems. We teach kids that they are not judged by a test result but rather by a quality result.
Ready to set your child up for success? Find out more about enrolling your child today.