((scoooooot, draaaagggg, BANG!))
We heard the wooden step stool being heaved and hauled across the kitchen floor as we sat in the living room. My husband asked my three-year-old to grab his drink that he had placed in the top part of the freezer.
She was on a mission to not disappoint.
But she couldn’t find what he wanted and she couldn’t reach. So instead, she saw some bottles on the countertop that were within safe reach using her stepstool. My husband lamented that “Well, in raising out-of-the-box thinkers you may not get exactly what you want, but they will do what they can to make your request a reality.”
And it’s true! We raise our kids to problem solve and to come up with a solution to problems. We ask for all questions and requests to never go unanswered. And in the end, our kids have learned to work through the obstacles and think a little differently when approaching problems.
Extremely Good Parenting Podcast EP. 006 Show Notes
- 3:00 Scary Mommy No Our kids do not need exercise bike desks
- Posts mentioned about problem solving & Independence
- 5:13 Creativity is one of the greatest assets to our kids
- 8:45 The dangerous aspect of problem-solving
- 10:03 Set them up for reality, but also to be an out-of-the-box-thinker
Listen to the episode to get even more than what’s listed below.
Teaching your toddler and preschooler to think critically
Model Out-of-the-Box thinking
Leading by example is always our best way to teach our children something. They see it as a habit, as a lifestyle, and not as something out of the ordinary. So when we show them how we’re choosing a unique way of accomplishing the task, their perception of problems changes. Then they start mimicking your behaviors.
Stop doing things for your kids
This isn’t to say when they truly need help that you don’t come to their aid.
It means that you encourage your child to find a solution to their problem before offering help or advice. And when you give them some time to think it through, then maybe offer a teaser.
My daughter many times will ask me to do something (usually get something for her) and I will ask her if she has tried to figure it out yet.I will proceed to say, “Well do you know where your step stool is?” as a leading question to help her work through the steps necessary to reach her end goal.
Independence, Creativity, and problem-solving go hand-in-hand
I firmly believe that as we foster each, they all build on the end goal of raising well-rounded critical thinkers.
So as we raise our children to view the world differently, conquer task on their own, and think through situations and, in turn, they are growing up equipped and ready to face challenges rather than with a feeling of entitlement.[Tweet “Instead of having to climb the mountain to get to the other side, see the vision of going around it”]
Let them struggle
This goes along with stop doing things for your kids.
The moment we let them work through a situation, we’re allowing them to learn. It’s a lot easier to learn by experience and it is reinforced in ways just taking someone’s word for it is.
Just like you can tell a child a million times a stove is hot, they completely understand the moment they touch it. No, don’t purposefully let your child touch the stove!
Equip your kids with an Attitude of confidence
Instill an idea in them that you believe in them and they are able & capable children.
When we believe in our kids and they know it, they’re more likely to try even if they’re unsure.
The caveat to this is that while we embolden them, we teach them a healthy respect for understanding their own limitations and trusting their instincts in situations where they could potentially get hurt. But pen and paper problem solving? No one can get more than a paper cut.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!