So often in my life as a parent, I feel like I am running from one thing to the next. Time always seems to be of the utmost importance and often affects my interactions with my children.
Last week our School Counseling Program led a parenting webinar about Dan Siegel’s book, “The Whole Brain Child.” I read this book a couple of years ago, and loved it! One of his illustrations points out how important it is for kids to be able to problem-solve and brainstorm their own solutions…even if they are wrong.
What I have come to realize is that the pace I attempt to keep often prevents my children from enjoying the gift of problem solving. There really is no time for problem-solving in my schedule, so I just give them the solution. I just tell them what they need to do. The problem with this is they are not able to see how capable they are of solving their own problems. How awful that my time management affects their ability to learn this essential skill, a skill that they need!
Like any good parent, I am trying…trying to slow down, trying to be more intentional.
Recently my 6 -year-old woke up and came downstairs with this spark in her eye and says to me, “Mom I think my brother and sister switched bodies last night!” (We don’t call her Koo-Koo Bird for nothing!) You can imagine my eye roll, but I was in a spunky mood and I played along. I asked, “Hmm, that’s peculiar…what can we do to see if this happened?” Excited that I was engaging, she proposed that we make them race because her brother is clearly faster. J But as she brainstormed a bit longer, she thought a test of the brain would be better, so she proposed that we ask two questions: 1) What’s your favorite color? and 2) Who is the funniest person in the family? We put my two older kids to the test as they came downstairs for breakfast, and low and behold, they had not switched bodies!
It might sound like a silly interaction, but as I provided my daughter the opportunity to brainstorm, test and discover how to prove her hypothesis she grew. Her self-confidence and ability to solve a problem grew. Our relationship also grew as she trusted me to help test her hypothesis and not disregard or ignore her crazy idea.
And believe it or not, I still got breakfast made!
If you are like me, slow down. Make sure you are encouraging your children to problem-solve. It not only helps them develop critical thinking skills, it also shows them that they are capable of doing great things!