Create problems these holidays! - Glasshouse Christian College

Create problems these holidays!



  • June 22, 2023

Create problems these holidays!

Term time is busy! We are all in the rushed routines of waking up the kids, preparing lunches, ensuring the uniforms are clean, finding that elusive left shoe and then getting everyone out of the door in time. The afternoons can be just as hectic with after-school activities, supervising homework, cooking the evening meal, doing the dishes and then preparing for the next morning’s whirlwind routine all over again.

The rushed nature of term time means that we often do whatever is necessary to get through the week and try not to tackle anything else. However, when the holidays do come around, we don’t want to tackle anything else! The last thing you need during these holidays is problems.

However, I believe that for the sake of your children, you should create problems these holidays! Yes, you heard me correctly. I want you to create problems these holidays. 

Problem-solving skills develop critical thinking 

Creating problems for your children to problem-solve will develop their critical thinking. This empowers children to approach challenges with a logical and rational mindset. It helps them break down complex problems into manageable components, identify patterns and trends, and develop creative and innovative solutions. The ability to think critically allows children to make sound judgments, solve problems effectively, and adapt to new situations with confidence.

Problem-solving is a lifelong skill

As educators, we teach critical thinking in the classroom to help students learn new academic skills and understand what they are learning. However, critical thinking skills are even more important outside the classroom. It is these skills that permeate every aspect of your child’s life through the teen years, into adulthood and until they are a senior citizen. Whether it’s navigating personal relationships, making informed decisions about health and well-being, or addressing complex societal issues, the ability to think critically is crucial.

School holidays provide the time for children to solve problems

The rush of term time often results in us solving our children’s problems for them because we just don’t have time to allow them to do it. We are the ones who look for the missing left shoe, we are the ones who check their bags to ensure they have everything packed, and we are the ones who tell them when to do what so it is all done on time. 

The holidays present us with the opportunity to allow our children to solve these everyday problems for themselves. Go one step further and create problems for your child to solve. It might be as simple as asking them to work out a budget for their pocket money or something as complex as building a guinea pig cage. If you want a really big problem for them to solve, use the holidays to purchase that Ikea furniture you want and give your child the Allen key! 

Eight more problems to create for your children

If you are still struggling to come up with ways to create problems for your child to solve these holidays, here are eight more ideas:

  1. Ask your child to navigate when you are walking or driving somewhere.
  2. Encourage open-ended play. Provide toys and materials that require problem-solving techniques. Examples include building a project with Lego or art and craft supplies. Ask them what they are going to make and what steps will be involved. 
  3. Ask your child to plan a family outing with specific tasks like what time to leave home, how long it will take to travel, what things will the family need to pack and how much is it likely to cost.
  4. Have your child plan a family meal within a budget. This will require researching recipes, creating a shopping list and working out what part of the cooking process they might need help with.
  5. If you are going on a long car trip, plan riddles, puzzles and brain teasers that require logical thinking and problem-solving skills. 
  6. Encourage your child to think of a project that will help others. It could be by gathering, sorting and cleaning toys and clothes they want to give away, doing some gardening for a neighbour or making a card for someone who is sick. Each project will require problem-solving skills and the first problem to solve is coming up with ideas for the project. 
  7. Ask them to help you solve a problem. What (age-appropriate) challenges are you facing that you could talk through with your child? It is good for our children to see that we have problems to solve and to be part of that process will be a great boost to their confidence. Don’t overburden them but every now and again, share your problems with them. You might be surprised at how helpful they can be!
  8. Use “The 5 Whys”. This simple technique puts the problem back on your child. For example, if he says he can’t find his left shoe, ask him “Why?” If the answer is, “Because it’s not with my other shoe”, then ask “Why?” again. Keep going (it usually takes about five times) until your child realises the real problem. It could be that they were in a rush to play and didn’t put their shoes away properly. Keep breaking down the problem with your child until they are ready to think of solutions that will stop it from happening again.

Celebrate the failures

Change how you respond to failure. If your child accidentally drops a dirty tea towel in the soup he or she was making for dinner, surprise them with your response. Instead of “Oh no, the whole meal is ruined,” try, “That’s great that this happened because it provides a good learning opportunity.” This is the perfect time for your child to fail and to learn that failure isn’t the end of the world but an opportunity to grow and solve problems. Use the 5 Whys technique to work out how it happened and then encourage your child to think of solutions. Just make sure the ultimate solution isn’t to buy pizza because you might end up with a lot more meals with dirty tea towels dropped in them!

Failures dealt with in this way soon become family favourite stories to be laughed at down the track and not something that makes our children feel like failures. Making mistakes is a natural part of the problem-solving process and is often where the most lessons are learned. 

What problems will you create these holidays?

I hope I’ve left you with some food for thought and that you will embrace the opportunities these holidays provide for you and your children. Join us in cultivating resilient thinkers who approach problems with creativity, perseverance, and resilience. 

I look forward to welcoming you all back on Monday 17 July 2023.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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