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I have a great team working with me to manage the Be A Fun Mum community. When putting my team together, there is one quality I look for in members: initiative. Interestingly, I followed a thread on a business Facebook group about interviews to ask a potential employee, and initiative came up time and time again as a desirable quality. According to the Oxford Dictionary, initiative describes the ability of an individual to tap into one’s imagination and common sense in order to problem solve independently with a fresh approach. Key words here are “problem solve”. An article in The Conversation (2014) agreed that problem-solving skills are vital for our children to develop because the world they are moving into is increasingly complex and jobs and roles change rapidly. The question is: How to teach problem solving?

As a parent, raising my children to be out-of-the-box thinkers has always been important, and I think it comes naturally to some children over others. However, I do believe we can create a home environment that fosters problem-solving skills, and there are five key components:

  1. Take (appropriate) risks and be open to failure. The environment our children are growing up in is increasingly about mitigating risk. Instead, create a culture that encourages experimentation and embraces mistakes. Kids can’t learn about risk unless they are able to take risks.
  2. Foster creativity through play and open-ended projects. Lots of play opportunities in wild, open environments.
  3. When faced with a problem, it’s okay to be nervous but always stay calm. Panic is the enemy of problem solving.
  4. Don’t underestimate the value of a good brainstorm, no matter how weird the ideas are. Google ‘problem solving worksheet’ and there are free printables that break down this process.
  5. Learn to analyse by tapping into information, experience, imagination and intuition. This is tied up with confidence backed by a good set of skills and trusting your ‘gut’.

Problems solving isn’t about reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s a personal skill that can be applied to all areas of life. Our children need it.

Kelly Burstow

Kelly Burstow  

Kelly is the founder of the Be A Fun Mum community. She is passionate about creating your own kind of motherhood, celebrating differences in others, and investing in ways to add value to family life in everyday moments. In between blogging about her parenting adventures, you’ll find her travelling as much as possible, chipping away at study, doing marketing for a small Brisbane business, driving children around and drinking lots of coffee. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, four children and pet bird. She’s never outgrown her love for Cookie Monster // www.beafunmum.com