Babies and problem-solvingProblem-solving is the foundation of a young child's learning. As soon as young children begin to ask 'Why?' and 'How?' they show an interest in learning through problem-solving. But problem-solving strategies can be taught to children long before they start speaking. Very young babies can be encouraged to develop problem solving thinking, and here's how to do it.
How problem-solving can help stimulate intelligenceHealthy babies will be puzzled by many things in the world about them. The problems babies will be trying to solve for themselves are going to be simple puzzles about how the world works and how to make their body works in the world. By about 4 months of age, babies reach a stage in their cognitive development where they can intentionally begin to make things happen. For example, they will use their hands to hit a mobile or cry for their mother. Once babies reach this stage of cognitive development, you can present your baby with simple puzzles they can solve. For example, moving a mobile that a baby can reach to a slightly different location so that baby has to work out again how to use their hands to reach it. Or, you can offer your baby a new toy so that your baby has to work out what to do with it and how to work it. Babies concentration span is very short and their frustration and distress can build up quickly so do not be too ambitious when trying to stimulate your baby to try new things. You need to choose puzzles that are within the baby's grasp and do not cause distress or frustration. Learning to enjoy problem-solving at this age relies on having problems that are fun and of interest to the baby.
Children's confidence in problem-solving begins to be shaped in infancy. When boys are distressed parents will often direct them into doing activities while distressed baby girls will get cuddles and soothing talk to settle them down. This provides boys with strong messages that they are doers and solvers of problems and girls that they should be passive rather than active.
What you need to do to help your baby develop their problem-solving strategies early
You need to match the use of problem-solving to enhance children's learning with their developmental abilities. The older the children the more they are likely to have sustained, focused attention on the problems they encounter. You also need to match the types of problems you want to encourage your children to solve with your children's developmental interests.
Very young children respond to simple narrative structure, colorful visual appeal and storylines that are suited to their limited understanding of the world around them. Let’s Read A Story will help your children understand simple concepts from everyday life while engaging them in a question & answer responses and acting out simple instructions.
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