5 Tips For Better Problem Solving
Teach your homeschooler how to find better ways to deal with problems. Follow these five helpful tips to help your kids learn the important life skill of problem-solving.
Whether it is a math problem or a disagreement with a sibling or best friend, Everyone has problems to solve. But learning to do it in a healthy manner is key to mastering this important life skill. With hormones at an all-time high in the teen years, thinking clearly and problem-solving well can sometimes be a challenge.
As Karl Popper, who was a 20th-century philosopher of science, once quoted, “All life is problem-solving.”
Problem-Solving Tips To Try
Take A Break
If you simply can not have a calm discussion with someone (or solve that math problem without an emotional outburst), then it is time to get some air. Go to another room, or outside. By removing yourself from the situation, allows your brain to process the argument and figure out a different approach. If you need to, simply end the conversation (or the assignment) and come back to it later.
Interestingly, engineering professor Barbara Oakley quoted to the Mother Jones newspaper, “When you are focusing, you are blocking your access to the diffuse mode. The diffuse mode, it turns out, is what you often need to be able to solve an exceedingly difficult, new problem.”
Keep A Journal
If the problem is more serious, try writing down the issue. Often, our brains have a hard time sorting through the feelings before even tackling the solution. Write down the why, what, when, etc. Add to each subtitle with more sensible ideas. Much like an outline you do for an essay. Get it all out on paper first. Then, go back and read each entry. Does it make sense? Does it seem like a better approach to solving the problem?
Sleep On It
Some problems can not be solved in one day. By keeping yourself up worrying about it, not only is bad for your physical health but worse for your mental health. Emotions cool down and your teen’s brain has a chance to process. And what teen doesn’t need a good night’s sleep, right!?!
Have A Chat
If the problem is not resolved and your teen is feeling overwhelmed, sometimes voicing the problem is therapeutic. Call a friend, family member, or trusted adult. Someone that is close to you who has some understanding of your personality. When we are emotional, it is hard to see our own behaviors. By having a “third-party” hear the problem, it gives us that moment to release that anger or sadness and re-focus on the base of the problem more rationally. Learning to discuss and ask for help is a HUGE problem-solving resource (and exercise in humility) that we all need to practice – not just our teens.
Tackle It Head-On
This is the moment that your teen is feeling strong enough emotionally to solve the problem. This might look like, talking to the person that you feel has wronged you or getting up every day just a bit earlier to make some extra time to tack that difficult homeschool subject. When we push ourselves to resolve the hurdle that is holding us back, we are rewarded with feelings of satisfaction and less anxiety.
Your Life Skills: Problem-Solving Workbook
As Albert Einstein eloquently summed it up, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” By practicing and utilizing these tips will not only assure a more easily solved conclusion, but your mental health will thank you, making everyone feel better. The Strategic Problem-Solving Workbook Bundle is the perfect tool for teaching this life skill in your homeschool.
Get started helping your homeschooler learn to break big problems down into manageable steps today! Download the FREE Strategic Problem Solving Checklist for Tweens & Teens.
Shannan is a wife, mum, and saved by grace child of The King. Her home base is in Scotland, where she homeschools her two kids (ages 12 & 15) and learns on location throughout Europe as much as possible. She is a classical/Charlotte Mason style home educator living out her God-breathed dream of raising her family in Europe. She’s passionate about many things, especially helping others learn on location using the world as their classroom. She encourages you to pursue your God-breathed dream, no matter what it is! You can join her at Captivating Compass for homeschool and family travel inspiration.