Pandemic Parenting

Problem Solving Skills

An effective strategy to help your kids cope with stressful times is teaching them problem solving skills. As adults who have likely had a lot of experience in solving problems, it can be difficult to think about how to teach these skills. Help your kids walk through the steps of solving a problem using our problem solving worksheet. Guide them through each step as you are filling this out together. After you have worked through 2-3 problems together, you might encourage your child to try these steps on their own!

Problem Solving Steps

Step 1: Identify the Problem. Help them make the problem as short and clear as possible. Think newspaper headline- if someone were writing an article about this problem, what would the headline be? 

Step 2: Brainstorm Potential Solutions. What are some things that might make this problem seem less difficult? What would make the problem go away? 

Step 3: Identify Pros & Cons. For each solution, help them think about pros and cons. Some questions you might prompt them with are: who else does this affect? Do you think this solution would be hard or easy to do? Who might need to help you make this solution happen? 

Step 4: Choose a Solution. Help them pick a solution to start with. You might decide to choose the one that has the most pros and the least cons. Or you might encourage them to pick the solution that they can make happen themselves with minimal outside help. 

Step 5: Test the Solution. This is the time where they put the solution into action. Remind them that sometimes solutions take time, and we have to give them enough time to actually help the problem. 

Step 6: Evaluate. Start with this simple question: Did the solution you chose help? If yes, positively reinforce their problem solving efforts. If no, reassure them that it’s ok and that sometimes problems take multiple tries to solves. Walk them through the four options listed below “no” and help them decide which makes the most sense for their situation. Encourage their persistence and make sure to praise them for working hard on finding a solution!

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