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What are Problem-Solving Skills?

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Problem-solving skills help kids tackle challenges and find solutions. These skills are vital for navigating daily life and achieving goals.

Frequently Asked Question


Why are problem solving skills important for children?

Problem-solving skills are essential for children’s academic success, social relationships, and daily functioning. They enable kids to navigate challenges, think creatively, and persist in finding solutions.

What are some signs that a child struggles with problem solving?

Children who struggle with problem solving may become easily frustrated or overwhelmed when faced with challenges. They may have difficulty breaking down problems, considering multiple solutions, or persisting when initial attempts fail.

How can parents help their child develop problem solving skills?

Parents can support their child’s problem solving skills by breaking down problems into manageable steps, encouraging flexible thinking, and praising effort and persistence. Modeling effective problem solving and providing guided practice are also helpful.

Are problem solving difficulties common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders?

Yes, children with neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and autism spectrum disorder often have deficits in problem solving skills. Targeted interventions and accommodations can help these children improve their abilities in this area.

Scientific Definition


Problem solving skills refer to the cognitive and behavioral competencies that enable an individual to analyze a problem situation and generate, select, and implement effective solutions. These skills are critical for children’s cognitive development, academic success, and overall functioning in daily life. Deficits in problem solving are common in neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.



Real World Example of Problem Solving Skills

Meet Charlie, a bright 10-year-old who struggles with problem solving. Here’s an example of how difficulties in this area impact him:

Step Description
Charlie’s Challenge Charlie’s parents ask him to clean his very messy room. Overwhelmed, he procrastinates and needs to figure out where to begin.
Breaking It Down They break it down: first, put away clothes, then toys, then trash. Charlie does better with this step-by-step plan.
Creative Solutions When he can’t find a home for certain items, his mom prompts him to think creatively – could his bins be repurposed? What about space under the bed?
Outcome Charlie feels proud when his room is tidy! His parents praise his problem solving and hard work.

Breaking big problems into smaller chunks and thinking flexibly helps Charlie tackle challenges. With practice and support, his problem solving skills grow stronger.

How Do Problem Solving Skills Work?

Problem-solving skills are applied in nearly every aspect of a child’s life. Some key ways they are used:

  • Academically: Figuring out how to approach a challenging math word problem or research project.
  • Socially: Resolving a conflict with a friend or sibling; joining a new social group.
  • Adaptively: Deciding what to do if they miss the bus or forget their lunch.
  • Emotionally: Identifying and implementing coping strategies when upset or stressed.

By learning to break problems down, consider multiple solutions, and keep trying when faced with obstacles, kids build critical problem solving skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.