Encountering problems in our daily lives is no odd phenomenon. At work, home, or otherwise, we face obstacles all the time — and it’s no different for our children. Being a child does not exempt kids from problems that can arise as they navigate relationships, schooling, and life in general. And with the world we live in growing ever so volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, it is in a child’s best interest that we as parents help them develop the problem-solving skills they need to find success in all they do.
Encouraging Development of Problem-Solving Skills in Children
While problem-solving may often be referred to as a single skill in itself, it is more a skillset that comprises several distinct skills. Parents who want to develop problem-solving skills in their children can look to the following three areas as good places to start:
Instilling Self-Confidence and Resilience Against Failure
Kids who lack confidence may be more likely to give up when faced with a difficult problem, as they may not believe in themselves enough to think that they can find a working solution. On the other hand, kids who are self-confident and resilient will keep trying even when things get tough. They know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that they can learn from failures to further hone existing skills and reach eventual success. This tenacity is key to solving problems.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how parents can instil self-confidence and resilience in children, there are some general principles that can be followed:
- One of the most important things parents should do is provide children with opportunities to try new things and experience success. This can help them develop a sense of competence and mastery, which are important components of self-confidence.
- It is also important to model confidence and resilience yourself. Children learn a lot from watching the adults in their lives, so if you can remain calm and positive in the face of adversity, this will give them a good role model to follow.
- Finally, it is important to praise children for their efforts rather than their results. This can help encourage a growth mindset, and a firm belief that intelligence and ability can be developed through effort and perseverance.
At MindSpace by MindChamps, we commit ourselves to developing the Champion Mind of all who attend our after-school care programme and enrichment classes. By celebrating the individual uniqueness of each child, we cultivate confident and resilient children that strive to push beyond conventional wisdom and overcome adversity to solve whatever problems come their way.
Applying Learned Concepts to Real Life Problems
Another aspect of problem-solving involves critical thinking and skillfully tying back formally learned concepts to real life problems and applications. In Singapore, our children are continually exposed to educational information through various mediums in their everyday lives. However, knowledge can only bring one so far if they lack the skill needed to apply said knowledge to solve challenges.
One way to encourage children to apply learned concepts for problem-solving is to simply give them the chance to do so on a regular basis. For example, when shopping for groceries, tell them your intended budget and the list of items you need to get that day. Ask them to apply the mathematical concepts they learned in school to calculate whether such a budget will work. By doing so, you’re helping your child see that what they’re learning in school isn’t just theoretical, but can be actively applied in practical ways.
It’s also crucial to explicitly stress the importance of problem-solving in everyday life. Help children understand that being able to identify and solve problems is a valuable skill that they can use throughout their lives, and something that they are more than capable of doing with what they have already been taught at school. Similar to instilling confidence and resilience in children, parents should model problem-solving whenever faced with a challenge, showing the child how to use learned concepts and critical thinking to find a viable solution.
In MindSpace after-school care programmes, we leverage our proprietary Optimal Flow Method™ to create active understanding of all concepts taught. This not only helps children build upon prior knowledge for better understanding and recall, but also empowers them to draw upon the wealth of information in their heads to solve problems effectively and efficiently.
Cultivating Creativity and Promoting Creative Thinking
Creativity and creative thinking are two other virtues that should be cultivated in children to improve their development of problem-solving skills.
There are lots of ways to do this, including the involvement of puzzles, building blocks, art supplies, and anything else that allows children to unleash their imaginative side. You can also encourage creativity in your child by frequently asking them open-ended questions that don’t quite have one single right answer. This motivates them to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to hypothetical problems that they may be able to rely on for future use when real obstacles do come their way.
Encouraging creativity in children is essential for their holistic development, and can play a pivotal role in enhancing their problem-solving skills. We recognise this all too well at MindSpace, and employ numerous pedagogies and methodologies to ensure all our students can actively hone their creative mind at our after-school care centres. Students are also taught how to connect multiple perspectives and integrate them to solve problems and generate new, creative ideas.
Grow Your Child’s Problem-Solving Skills with MindSpace
By incorporating the proprietary MindChamps evidence-based pedagogy, MindSpace after school care programmes and enrichment classes enable children all over Singapore to develop their Champion Mindset and become skilled problem-solvers.
Check out our various programmes available at MindSpace today, and locate a MindSpace centre near you to enrol your child in an after-school learning environment that will nurture them into future Champions.