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You Can Do It! 3 Tips for Promoting Problem Solving Skills

by Makinya Ward on March 1, 2016
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Adults are so accustomed to solving problems that only the large ones we encounter usually register with us. As parents, we are so accustomed to preventing problems for our children that we often do not see the value in teaching problem-solving skills. Three parenting tips—meant to build those skills in your preschooler—will coincidentally make parenting easier, as your children become happier, more resilient people.

shutterstock_151305863.jpgCreative Frustration

Do not attempt to solve your child’s every challenge. Allow for some frustration to encourage problem-solving strategies. Teach your child four steps, say the experts offering parenting tips from Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development:

  1. What is my problem?
  2. Think, think, think of some solutions.
  3. What would happen if...Would it be safe? Would it be fair? How would everyone feel?
  4. Give it a try!

These four steps, available in a single printable picture, promote growth, resilience, empathy, and social skills.


Model problem-solving strategies for your child. The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers two parenting tips:

  • Think out loud—When your child sees you coping with an issue, narrate it: “I spilled my coffee! Oh, well, accidents happen and I just need to clean it up quickly. I should be more careful next time.”
  • Avoid certain words—Do not say a solution to a problem should be “fast,” or “easy.” Encourage deep thought and perseverance, and do not minimize the difficulty.

It’s a Game

The experts at Scholastic offer parenting tips on turning problem-solving skills into fun:

  • What can I Make?—Offer your child a household object and challenge him to think of an imaginative use for it. A hairbrush becomes a canoe paddle; a string of beads becomes horse reins.
  • Explore!—Offer your child interesting objects to study, such as a small, broken appliance. Sit with your child and safely explore the item together. Can we fix it? What could we turn it into?

At Kids Konnect we help children learn to solve their own problems, through direct instruction and by allowing monitored, creative frustration. How you do promote problem-solving skills in your child? Please leave your parenting tips below.

Topics: Child development