Ever get that feeling of frustration when you had a problem and weren’t thinking of solutions? Did you know that anger and frustration decrease when we are able to think of ways to solve problems? Well, it’s true – the more ways we can think of to solve problems, the less angry and frustrated we are. Problems can be anything: social, friendship, academic, work related… whatever! When we can think of ideas, we are more able to move forward past the problem and have a better attitude.
You might be asking, “How can I help my children learn how to think of solutions to problems?” Here are three good ways we can help children learn how to do this.
- Model (I’d like to reference my last blog post My Kid Said What?!?!? on Overt Modeling). The more we show children how we search for ideas to solve problems, the more likely they are to try it themselves.
- Practice thinking of solutions with your children. Capitalize on opportunities to think through problems. When you are watching a TV show or reading a book with your children and the characters run into a problem, pause and ask your children to think of ways it can be solved. Have them think of multiple ways to solve one problem. You also can ask them if the solution the characters came up with will actually solve the problem.
- Cue or say that it is time for them to think about ways to solve problems. You can have a code word with your children that helps them know when it is time to think of solutions. They will need help to generate ideas and to figure out if some ideas are better than others. Be Aware – you may have to wait for your children to calm down before they are ready to think about solutions (if you need ideas on how to help your children calm down, please see my blog post The Calm Instead of the Storm). We always think of more ideas when we are calm.
Learning how to solve problems helps to reduce our feelings of anger and frustration. With practice and guidance, children can have many proud Eureka! moments with successful problem-solving.