Teach Problem Solving for Lifelong Success

Teach Problem Solving for Lifelong Success

Problem solving is a skill that’s applicable to all facets of your children’s lives—from school to relationships to their first job. Here are six steps to teach your children how to tackle any problem they’re facing:

• Identify the problem. This is the most important step, and often the most overlooked. Your child can’t solve a problem until he or she can state what it is.

• Come up with a list of solutions. Brainstorm on possible solutions, even ones that initially seem far-fetched. Just keep the ideas flowing.

• Assess each idea. Now is the time to judge the merit of each idea, weighing the pros and cons of each solution.

• Pick one or two of the ideas. Have your child pick the top two solutions and talk about their pros and cons. Before he or she puts the decision into action, talk about possible obstacles and outcomes. What help can you expect? How can you avoid traps?

• Put the decision into action. Encourage your child to try his or her best. Don’t interfere, as long as the child is safe. Let him or her learn from mistakes.

• Evaluate and learn. How did the solution work? What changes need to be made to make it work better? What would he or she try the next time?