It is natural for parents to worry about every step their children take. Whether they could settle in their class, make friends, understand the classroom proceedings, and play without getting bullied, and so on. Now, until the time the children are holding your hands, in the literal sense, you are at peace. However, what happens when they outgrow your lap and grow their own world? Do you become a helicopter parent and oversee each of their moves so they do not falter at any step?
No matter how concerned you are about their safety and well-being, it is better to rear children who can tackle their problems independently, with confidence. This way, you will be at peace with the knowledge that you have raised kids who can make their way out of any situation, be it a misplaced toy, a not-so-serious fall in the playing field, or bullies.
But how do you help your child become a problem-solver? Here are some sure-fire ways to instill creativity in your kids so that they grow up not to be complaining individuals but problem-solving miracle workers.
Allow them to sort their mess
As children grow up, they achieve set milestones, learn new things, encounter problems, and learn even more from the experience. If they always turn around to seek your ready help on every occasion, they will not develop the confidence to resolve the obstacle. The problem may be as small as choosing which dress to wear or which game to play. Let them brainstorm solutions to any problem they identify, consider the pros and cons of each idea, test the best to review the result. This process of identification-brainstorming-testing will develop their critical thinking skills.
When approached for help, ask open-ended questions
When stuck with a problem, it is natural that children would ask you for help. When they do, do not offer the solution directly. Instead, dive into a problem-solving mode with them by asking open-ended questions like “what do you think is the right way to do it?” or “why do you think this solution will work?” etc., to help them find the right solution independently.
Let them face the consequences of their decisions
Yes, this technique comes with a rider: as long as it is safe for the kids to do so. We do not mean allowing them to run dangerously along the city’s busy thoroughfare but letting them tackle harmless decision-making situations to teach them important lessons for life. If your child decides to spend all the weekly allowance on a single day, allow them to do so. Eventually, they will realize their folly and the resultant complication of having to spend a week without any money. This experience will help them make better decisions about spending in the future.
Find positives in mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable in life. And, this is the truest in the case of growing children. But, do not reprimand them for every mistake they make. Only when you help the kids find the positive in a blunder they made will they learn to take the risk of creative problem-solving. For example, your kid is building a tall structure with blocks on a very narrow base resulting in the building toppling over. Prod your kid to think why it happened, and at a later stage, you can explain the scientific reason why taller structures need broader bases.
Encourage creative risk-taking
While engaging in craftwork, encourage the children to think out of the box to design unconventional ways of completing the project. They will thus, develop an experimenting attitude and consider backup plans if the original idea does not work. Besides indulging their creativity, in this way, you will also be nurturing their inclination of doing things differently.
Value their advice
Your kids’ confidence gets boosted manifold when you ask them for their advice and implement it to solve a problem you are facing. This simple gesture acts as a validation of their problem-solving skills. In case you are not accepting their advice, do take time to explain why their suggestion is not feasible for the particular problem.
Promote free playtime
Engaging children in free playtime is one of the best ways to cultivate creativity. Play “Let’s imagine” with them and let their minds wander to bring up the weirdest of situations to mind and allow them to invent creative solutions to each. After all, the once-considered-weird imagination of finding life on any other planet in the solar system has led to countless space expeditions.
At Samsidh Group of Schools, we wholeheartedly believe in raising future world citizens that are adept at problem-solving, and our curriculum incorporates creative activities to cultivate these skills in our wards. We urge you to join us in this mission of nurturing a generation of independent thinkers and creative troubleshooters.