Problem solving

When your child faces a problem, offer two possible solutions and let your child choose the best option. This encourages children to think about each one before making a choice.

Children gain experience in considering alternative paths of action resulting in it becoming a habit. Weighing alternatives is a key step in solving problems. Later your child will be able to link this skill with others to solve problems successfully.

• Encourage your child to pause when he/she is dealing with a problem. During the pause, calmly and lovingly explain what is happening. For example, if his tower of blocks keeps falling over, say, “That tower keeps falling. It’s made you so unhappy.”

• Talk quietly with your child about problem solving. There are some things that you could do so that won’t happen anymore. Let’s talk about a couple of them.

• Invite your child to consider two options for solving the problem. You could build the next tower wider and stronger at the bottom. Or, you could decide to build something else, maybe a long train. Which of these ideas would work best for you?

• Accept any decision your child reaches after thinking about both alternatives. If he suggests a third alternative, congratulate him on his creative thinking.