The Importance Of Teaching Kids and Teens Problem-Solving Skills
Throughout our lives, we all encounter problems that need to be solved. It’s important to develop skills that will help us to be better problem-solvers. The more prepared we are and the more we practice, the better we become at solving problems, taking on challenges, overcoming obstacles, and coming up with creative and effective solutions.
Problems are not necessarily bad. In fact, sometimes they are even fun, believe it or not. Either way, they are a part of life.
Problems involve challenges (like puzzles, riddles, games, or sports), obstacles to overcome, and things to figure out. They can engage us, sharpen our minds, entertain us, teach us, and help us to grow and become better. Sometimes they can weigh us down or stress us out. Regardless, problems, in some way and at some point, need to be solved.
Problems can range from something small and easy to solve to something huge and difficult to handle. We can easily solve some problems on our own, whereas we may need help solving bigger, more complex problems.
Problems can be as simple as not having the right shoes to wear with a certain outfit, or as complex as what to do about a broken down car. They can be solved in an instant (go left or go right), or they can take a while to figure out (finding a house to buy or deciding which job to accept).
Solving a problem often involves making a choice between two or more things. When we choose one thing, we have to give up something else, which can sometimes be tough. Sometimes we want both or all of the things, but we can only have one. We have to make a choice.
Think about problems you have had in the past and problems you might currently have. How have you dealt with these problems? How have you solved them?
Problem solving is an important aspect of mental health and wellness. It is a valuable life skill and component of success, self-esteem, and social skills. Teaching kids problem-solving skills helps them to become more confident, assertive, self-reliant, independent, and resilient.
Here are some downloadable, printable resources to help kids and teens learn, develop and practice using problem-solving skills.
Problem Solving Workbook for Kids and Teens -- This packet includes worksheets and prompts that allow kids and teens to learn about and practice using problem-solving skills. It can be used at home, in the classroom, in a counseling, therapy or group setting, and more. Shop here.
Solution Surfers: The Problem Solving Game -- This is a fun, creative surf-inspired game that allows players to practice problem-solving skills. Shop here.