How to Teach Kids to Solve Their Own Problems

I’m sharing a post over at Toddler Approved, all about helping kids learn to take an active role in problem solving.  To keep things exciting, this post includes ninjas, snowmobiles, trains, and motorcycles.  Well, sort of.  Here’s a little taste:

But what if we got a little less practice, and let our kids get a little bit more? I’m confident we’d still be able to maintain our own problem-solving prowess, and hopefully our kids would develop a bit of their own.

Let me give an example of what that difference might look like.

Not too long ago, I came upon two boys in a play group. They were playing in a play structure, or more accurately, they were arguing in a play structure. Each had his own idea of what imaginary form it would take on and how the play would follow. Was it a train or a dojo? Tough questions for a pair of preschoolers. Each glared as he tried to push the other out.

The common approach as the “adult referee” is to step in and ask, “Who was here first?” Problem is, every kid thinks he was there first. (You know, when he looked at it twenty minutes ago or visited last week, he was there first.)

Next attempt, the grown up usually jumps in with a solution. Perhaps suggesting the boys take turns. “You play first. Then when the timer goes off, you trade.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with either approach, and sometimes it’s the route you have to take to smooth things out. But both approaches put the adult in the driver’s seat and pits the children against each other. “I win. You lose.”

Slide on over to Toddler Approved to find out how two squabbling boys actually ended up having fun together!

And don’t forget, the Parenting with Positive Guidance Ecourse starts next week!  Register today with the TEAM discount code and you and your parenting partner can both register for LESS than the price of one registration!



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