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How To Teach Your Child Problem Solving Skills

Problem-solving is a critical skill that helps children navigate challenges and make thoughtful decisions. By teaching your child how to solve problems effectively, you equip them with tools for academic success and everyday life. Here are some strategies to help you teach your child problem-solving skills.

  1. Encourage Curiosity and Exploration

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Stimulate your child’s curiosity by asking open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Questions like “What do you think will happen if…?” or “How would you solve this problem?” encourage them to think deeply and explore different possibilities.

Provide Opportunities for Exploration

Give your child opportunities to explore and experiment. Whether it’s through play, science experiments, or creative projects, allowing them to try new things helps them understand how to approach and solve problems.

  1. Model Problem-Solving Behaviour

Think Aloud

When you encounter a problem, talk through your thought process out loud. This helps your child see how you approach problem-solving and can learn strategies by example. For instance, you might say, “I need to figure out how to organise these books. First, I’ll sort them by size, then by topic.”

Show Resilience

Demonstrate resilience when facing challenges. Let your child see that it’s okay to make mistakes and that persistence is key to finding solutions. This encourages them to keep trying even when things get tough.

  1. Teach Problem-Solving Steps

Identify the Problem

Help your child clearly define the problem. Ask questions like “What is the problem we need to solve?” and “Why is it a problem?” This step is crucial for understanding what needs to be addressed.

Brainstorm Solutions

Encourage your child to brainstorm multiple solutions. Emphasise that no idea is too silly and that considering many options can lead to the best solution. Write down all their ideas to visually show the range of possibilities.

Evaluate Options

Discuss the pros and cons of each potential solution. Ask your child to think about the consequences of each option and how effective they might be. This teaches them to weigh their choices carefully.

Implement the Solution

Once a solution is chosen, help your child create a plan to implement it. Break down the steps they need to take and offer guidance as they put their plan into action.

Review the Results

After the solution has been tried, discuss the results with your child. Ask questions like “Did our solution work?” and “What could we do differently next time?” This reflection helps them learn from their experiences and improve their problem-solving skills.

  1. Use Everyday Situations

Real-Life Scenarios

Use everyday situations as teaching moments. Whether it’s resolving a disagreement with a sibling, figuring out how to share toys, or deciding what to do on a rainy day, real-life problems provide practical opportunities for learning.


Role-playing different scenarios can be a fun and effective way to practice problem-solving. Create situations where your child needs to solve a problem and act it out together. This can help them develop confidence in handling various challenges.

  1. Foster a Growth Mindset

Encourage a Positive Attitude

Teach your child to view problems as opportunities to learn and grow. Encourage them to see mistakes as part of the learning process rather than failures. Phrases like “Let’s try again” or “What did we learn from this?” promote a growth mindset.

Celebrate Effort

Praise your child’s effort and perseverance rather than just the outcome. Acknowledge their hard work and determination, which reinforces the importance of the problem-solving process.

  1. Incorporate Problem-Solving Games and Activities

Puzzles and Brain Teasers

Introduce puzzles, brain teasers, and strategy games that require critical thinking and problem-solving. These activities are enjoyable and help develop cognitive skills.

Collaborative Projects

Engage your child in collaborative projects that require planning and teamwork. Building a model, creating a garden, or organising a small event can teach valuable problem-solving and collaboration skills.

Teaching your child problem-solving skills is an ongoing process that requires patience and practice. By encouraging curiosity, modelling effective behaviour, teaching structured steps, using real-life situations, fostering a growth mindset, and incorporating fun activities, you can help your child become a confident and capable problem solver. These skills will not only benefit them academically but will also prepare them to face life’s challenges with resilience and creativity.

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