Thinking and Problem Solving in Children: How to Develop It

Thinking and problem solving skills begin from infancy and continue to develop into adulthood. Understanding this development can help you to become a better parent, as these are skills that will help kids become better adults. 

What is Thinking and Problem Solving?

Thinking is the analyzing of how different parts that make up the whole of something will interact together for an overall result. It is about looking inward for reasoning based on your own beliefs and the actions you take. It is simply the process of evaluating information received.

Problem solving is the ability to solve problems that are not familiar. It also involves the identification and the asking of pertinent questions for extra clarity, in order to reach solutions that work for everyone involved.

Why are Thinking and Problem Solving Important in Life?

Thinking and problem solving will help your child with the challenges of every day life, and they will take these skills into adulthood. The ability to solve daily challenges at any age requires developing the ability to take your current knowledge, the facts surrounding the situation, and any other available data into account without feeling stressed.

When do Children Begin to Learn Thinking and Problem Solving Skills?

Children begin learning about thinking and problem solving from birth. Infants begin learning thinking skills through the use of their senses as they discover everything around them in this new environment. The most important role here rests with the parents. The direct interaction with your child will allow him or her to learn a lot about this world. They are then able to take this knowledge and apply it to situations they observe.

What Types of Toys or Activities Aid in the Development of Thinking and Problem Solving?

Some great toys for your young child are jigsaw puzzles and the Jack-in-the-Box toy. Jigsaw puzzles are key in developing and practicing problem solving skills. Your child needs to analyze the pieces and study the shape of the pieces in order to finish the puzzle. The Jack-in-the-Box toy teaches problem solving with the relationship between the crank needing to be turned before the Jack-in-the-Box pops up.

You will also have a very important role in this kind of development. For example, showing your child how to remove a lid from a container that holds his or her snacks are based both on thinking and problem solving. To initiate the learning of problem solving skills, when you are watching your child and notice that he or she is trying to make something happen, take the time to show your child how to perform the task.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

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