- Provide opportunities for hands-on exploration and investigation.
- Help children find solutions to real-life problems.
- Allow children to find the solutions.
The toddler years can be challenging, to say the least! The tantrums, the will, the giggles, and laughter can be a major source of confusion for parents as toddlers’ develop their ability to think, solve problems and communicate grows. Toddlers’ brains are growing more and more each day. Helping them explore their environment and learn more about the world around them will aid in the development of their problem-solving skills.
Language development and critical thinking skills are essential to effective navigation of their environments. However, with that learning process comes incredible frustration at times. The rigidity that a toddler can experience when the changes they want to see in the environment don’t happen can cause a catastrophic event!
You can help by providing opportunities for open-ended exploration and offering help before your children become too frustrated. A few tips can help lessen the terrible toddler years even more.
Provide opportunities for hands-on exploration and investigation.
Offer children novel and exciting items to explore, such as magnets, found objects, and other toys. Keep your materials fresh and thought-provoking! Offer babies intriguing items they can hold, grasp and suck. This exploration will set the stage for later problem-solving skills. Give younger toddlers toys that produce responses to their actions. Cause and effect toys are remarkable for teaching young toddlers early problem-solving skills. Use toys that make noises or light up or react in any way when they’re grasped, shaken, and/or banged.
Help children find solutions to real-life problems.
Ask open-ended questions: “What can you do with a …?” “How many ways can you …?” Listen carefully to their thoughts and ideas. Allow natural consequences to happen. For example, if a car goes under the sofa, ask your toddler how he thinks he can get it. Then, try out the suggestions. Share your thoughts if their ideas did not work. You could also contrive a situation to build a problem-solving repertoire. One idea is to place interesting toys just out of your child’s reach. This makes the child work to solve the problem of getting the toy.
Foster creative- and critical-thinking skills by exploring items in new and diverse ways.
Wooden blocks are not just for building towers! For example, wooden blocks can become wheels for a car, hair for a doll, measuring links, or can be pressed into play-doh to make designs. Encourage imaginative play!
Allow children to find the solutions. Always offer help when they become frustrated, but don’t solve the problems for them. Encourage persistence in solving the issues they are having.
By providing the materials and encouraging children’s attempts to explore and solve problems, parents and teachers can stimulate children’s mind, promote critical thinking, and help them take pride in their own abilities to find out more about how their worlds work.