Recommended age: 5-12
Requires: Parent or professional to facilitate
Includes: 3 PDF pages (2 worksheets, 1 instructions)
Download here or at the end of the post
Use: As a tool to guide and teach the process of problem solving
Will enhance social and emotional skills:
Self Awareness: Identify own feelings and emotions, increase self confidence
Self Management: Emotional regulation
Relationship Skills: Conflict resolution
Responsible Decision-making: Problem Solving
Children encounter problems all the time in their daily lives. Like at home - when parents set screen time limits on their electronics, or when siblings play with their toys without permission. And at school - having challenges with school work or difficulty making new friends.
Children are also taught how to solve problems daily at school, but primarily on solving academic problems. Like they learn how to analyze complex challenges and apply solutions, and are able to work through math problems that can stump grown adults.
But for problems that arise from relationships, emotions or behaviors, children are often are provided limited guidance.
Many are able to learn these problem solving skills through experiences and trial and error. And although most learn without extra guidance, there are still many children who lack adequate and appropriate skills.
Part of my work as a psychotherapist is strengthening the foundation of children's problem solving skills so they can build upon them and apply to various areas of their lives.
I created a simple tool for my practice to guide and teach children through the process of problem solving. I am happy to share it for free so that more parents and professionals can use it with their children!
Tool to guide and teach
Since problem solving can be a difficult topic for children to talk about, I designed this specifically to be engaging and fun for them. And of course, practical for parents and professionals to use.
I spent many hours developing this tool, as it is grounded from my experience working directly with children and families and is informed by child development and neuroscience research.
I hope you'll find the tool useful, as I have seen it help open dialogue for children as well as between them and their parents. My only hope is this will provide you and your child a meaningful experience on how to solve problems together.
What problems can this be used for?
The tool is designed to be flexible enough to address most problems that arise from relationships, emotions or behaviors. It can also account for small or complicated problems. For example, addressing accidentally dropping their favorite ice cream on the floor or resolving a fight with their siblings.
Types of problems include:
Problems with peers/friends/classmates
Problems with siblings
Problems with parents/caregivers (rules, discipline)
Problems at school or other settings
Problems created by themselves (mistakes, accidents, emotional or behavioral)
The tool is used in two different ways:
1. For educational purposes - By using example scenarios or past problems to work through how to solve the problem.
2. To help solve real problems your child is currently dealing with.
What are the benefits?
Designed to be engaging, non-judging and encourages your child's input.
Teaches and guides your child through the process of problem solving.
Encourages the use and integration of both parts of the "thinking" and "feeling" brain.
Identify the problem, identify their own emotions, manage their emotions and think of problem solutions.
How to facilitate
Before you start
Introduce the tool as a fun way to learn how to solve problems.
Start with an example scenario problem to familiarize your child with the tool.
Regardless of age, I recommend to write in the answers while your child reflects and talks aloud.
Remember, the tool is a guide on how to facilitate, the magic is when your child can assess and process their problem solving in the safety of supportive facilitation.
Question 1: "What is the problem?"
This first step is to prepare an example scenario problem or have your child identify and describe what the problem is. Additional details can include: how did the problem happen? Who is involved? And why is this a problem?