Problem Solving Every Day
Do you have good problem-solving skills? Do you wish you could pass these skills on to your children? Do your children try to fix their toys and games?
I remember when I was growing up, I would fix things like cassette tapes and cassette players. If you ever owned one, you would know the biggest problem was the player “eating” your cassette (I was so happy when CD’s came along). If your cassette was “eaten”, you didn’t just throw out the cassette and player, you learned how to carefully remove the cassette and fix the player.
Can your child or tween fix their iPod or Xbox? My oldest child will do minor fixes (switch the cords, change the batteries) on the Xbox, but I rarely see higher level thinking. How can we help our children with hands-on problem-solving skills?
Suggestions to improve your child’s hand’s on problem-solving skills
- When providing instructions instead of just telling your child how to complete a task, show them or involve them in completing the task.
- Help your child learn to use basic home tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and allen wrenches (use only age-appropriate tools, and adult supervision). Children learn with hands on practice and most will love to help and be involved.
- If a toy or electronic device breaks, give your child the opportunity to assess why it does not work and suggest how to fix it. If the fix is simple, allow your child to make the fix (i.e. change batteries). Older children may be able to complete more advanced fixes.
- If you are a build it/fix it person, include your child in your projects. Understanding how to build things and determine how to fix items (washing machines, TV’s, dishwashers), requires multiple skills such as pinpointing the problem, taking the device apart, making the repair and then remembering all the steps and reassemble the item to it’s original condition.
Learning to fix everyday items and solve everyday hands-on problems taught me to be a better problem solver. Is it possible that if children are able to improve their hands-on problem-solving skills, they would also improve their cognitive and higher level problem-solving skills too?
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