Tools for Life Kids Problem Solving

Guest post. All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Tools for Life: Ways to Give Your Young Child Some Serious Problem-Solving Skills


Life is complex, even for adults. So it’s not too difficult to understand kids need help solving problems. It’s an ability that helps with scholastics as well as everyday matters. When you teach kids problem solving skills, you’re providing them with tools for life. Here’s how to help kids identify issues, evaluate the problem, consider consequences, and more.

Identify the Issue

At times, adults and kids seem affected yet fail to identify a tangible issue. Kids need to understand they have control over their lives. Solving problems is a lifelong duty. However, the process starts with identifying issues. Teach kids to listen to their gut; for example, if they are having an issue with a bully at school, they need to identify it as a problem versus feeling isolated and intimidated.

Think About It

There’s more than one way to solve a problem. Teach kids to evaluate by considering a problem’s origin, identifying who or what is involved, and pondering consequences of reactions. For example, the bully situation can be resolved by talking to the bully, reporting the behavior to the principal, contacting the bully’s parents, etc. Each situation is different. Kids must learn to assess the situation and decide which resolution works best. The NNAT evaluates a child’s ability to use reason to solve problems. Interested parents may seek resources to prepare their child and get involved in their education.

Consider Consequences

Actions have consequences. It’s important not to sugarcoat this fact of life when discussing problem solving with kids. Kids need to make a connection between multiple events. For example, a child who feels intimidated in math class and does not ask for help is likely to do poorly on exams. A number of poor test grades results in a failing grade at report card time. On the contrary, a child who is vocal about their intimidation can get teachers, parents, and tutors involved in finding a solution well before the end of the marking period.

Break from Dependence

From the moment a child is brought into the world, they strive for independence. As a child grows and matures, a parent must balance lending a hand with allowing a child to assess and solve their own problems. Kids become independent as they develop a healthy ego. Teach kids that it’s okay to make mistakes. Remind them it’s more than okay to talk about their thoughts about intended decisions; that way, you can lend advice and move away from ‘telling them what to do.’

Walk the Talk

It’s important to be a good role model. Kids are smart and quickly identify a parent’s actions that conflict with prior words and preachings. Realizing kids deal with their own issues, just as adults do, helps parents empathize with kids. Empathy is related to emotional intelligence and better interpersonal skills. Showing by example earns a child’s respect and trust. If older siblings are in the family, remind them their brothers and sisters are impressionable and imitate the behavior of those closest to them.

Madeleine Cross is a Mother of two kids ages 4 and 7. A hands-on Mom when it comes to education, Maddy is always teaching her kids small yet useful things to help them through life.


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