Why are problem solving skills important and why should these be developed early in kids? In our life, we face problems and challenging situations almost every day. Well developed problem solving skills help us navigate these situations with confidence and lead us to successful outcomes. Not so well developed problem solving skills may lead to negative outcomes and may cause frustration. Examples of situations in our career & life which require problem solving skills are: How to increase productivity in the factory, how to reduce absenteeism of workforce, how to work out an efficient meeting schedule, how to increase business etc.
Same is true for situations faced by children. The difference between adults and children is that children are still under the supervision and guidance of their family. The child’s guardian can handhold a child through the situation without an adverse impact on the child.
Three main skills are needed for effective problem solving:
1. Critical Thinking: This involves breaking down a complex problem into smaller solvable problems. This needs ability in pattern recognition, logical thinking, deduction.
2. Creative Thinking: This involves looking at the given problem from different angles and thinking of alternative solutions to the problems
3. Effective Decision Making: using critical thinking and creative thinking one can break a problem into smaller problems and find alternative ways of solving it. Deciding which path to take to solve the problem needs effective decision making skills.
These skills cannot be developed overnight or by attending classes /coaching as these are practical application of different abilities honed over a period of time along with the judgment which comes from experience and confidence of applying these to real life situations which may be critical
How can problem solving skills be developed in kids?
1. Practice & development of cognitive skills like quantitative aptitude, verbal reasoning, data inference and creative thinking skills using online & offline practice tools (e.g. Fundamentor)
2. Helping a child brainstorm, reflect, do critical analysis when faced with challenging situations.
3. Guiding a child when she faces such situations and encouraging her to take own decisions
4. Supporting a child’s decisions and valuing her thought process encourages a child take ownership of the problem and solutions. This in turn makes the child a confident adult.