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Every day, children encounter a world filled with complexities, uncertainties, and emotions. Conflict with siblings, academic pressure, and personal hang-ups all play a part in shaping a child’s sense of self-worth and belonging.

It’s tempting to think that our job as adults is to shield children from these challenges. While protecting children in the short term might temporarily soothe them, what happens when they grow up?

Adults with poor problem-solving skills face arguably tougher challenges as they navigate an ever-changing workplace, maintaining relationships, and having to manage life by themselves.

In truth, jobs, relationships, and social expectations are part of life’s vibrancy. Challenges will always arrive but how you perceive and deal with setbacks is everything.

That’s why it’s crucial to develop problem-solving skills early.

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving differs from critical thinking but both are essential skills for life.

Critical thinking is the ability to analyse and evaluate information in order to form a reasoned judgement or opinion. Examples of critical thinking in school might be:

Problem-solving is the finding of solutions to specific challenges or obstacles. In the classroom this might look like:

Why children need problem-solving skills

Everyone can benefit from problem-solving skills but today’s children in particular face unique challenges that impact their self-worth and chances of success later in life.

Parents, teachers, and caregivers can offer support and guidance by recognising their struggles:

Academic Performance

Striving for top marks and meeting academic expectations, constant comparison, and fear of failure can contribute to stress and pressure for children, impacting their motivation, self-esteem, and overall levels of happiness.

Social Dynamics

Negotiating friendships, dealing with peer pressure, and navigating social hierarchies can be challenging for children, particularly during adolescence when social dynamics become more complex. Research has shown that the Covid pandemic has also taken a toll on children’s social skills.


In addition to verbal and physical bullying, today’s children now have cyberbullying to contend with. Regardless of what form it takes, bullying can have a profound impact on children’s well-being, leading to feelings of isolation, fear, and low self-esteem.

Issues at Home

Family conflicts, parental divorce, financial struggles, or changes in family dynamics can create emotional turmoil and instability for children, impacting their sense of security and belonging.

Emotional Regulation

Managing emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness, and disappointment can be difficult for children, especially when faced with challenging situations or transitions. Emotional regulation is often harder for neurodiverse children.

Peer Rejection

Rejection is hurtful at any age but can be particularly harmful to children especially if they experience rejection or exclusion from their peer group. Being rejected by “friends” is deeply hurtful for children, affecting their self-confidence and social relationships.

Body Image and Self-Esteem

Children’s increased exposure to social media leaves them vulnerable to concerns about body image, appearance, and fitting in with societal standards. Negatively comparing themselves to their peers or online beauty standards at such a crucial stage in their development contributes to low self-esteem and negative self-perceptions.

Digital Challenges

From doomscrolling to cyberbullying, the digital age presents additional challenges for today’s adolescents that previous generations never had to face. Factor in an ever-evolving world thanks to tech developments and AI and it’s no wonder children can feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to navigating their future.

Creating supportive environments

One of the best things we can do to help today’s children is by creating supportive environments that give them the tools and confidence to meet life’s challenges.

Holistic education is uniquely adept at instilling resilience, coping skills, and a strong sense of self-worth in children.

In an ever-evolving world brimming with possibilities and challenges, holistic schools stand for innovation and optimism, prioritising the cultivation of problem-solving skills in children that take them beyond academic achievement.

Holistic education recognises the profound importance of nurturing the whole child – mind, body, and spirit – to thrive in an increasingly complex society.

At the heart of their mission lies a steadfast belief in the transformative power of problem-solving, not just as a tool for academic success, but as a cornerstone for personal growth, resilience, and societal advancement.

Why children’s education should focus on problem-solving:

Developing problem-solving skills in children early is crucial for several reasons:

It builds a strong foundation for learning

Problem solving encourages kids to think big. Exploring ‘dead ends’, having the freedom to make mistakes, and remaining open-minded allows children to adjust their thinking to solve the challenge at hand.

Scientists have discovered that a release of dopamine in the brain is what triggers a ‘eureka!’ moment. That rush of excitement when you solve a problem also triggers curiosity and a willingness to learn more — a great foundation for future studies.

Problem-solving creates critical thinkers

Problem-solving encourages critical thought — the ability to identify patterns and analyse situations and information objectively to make an informed decision.

Critical thinkers are less likely to take dogmatic views of people and situations. Their flexible thinking opens them to seeing issues from another’s perspective which makes them adept at negotiating and solving conflict.

Children develop resilience early

Learning to solve problems independently fosters resilience and self-confidence. Resilient children have a high tolerance for failure which makes them unique in their ability to persevere in the face of setbacks. The human experience is full of ups and downs and cultivating a growth mindset helps children feel optimistic and prepared for whatever life throws at them.

Kids get to be creative and have fun

Problem-solvers are more creative and innovative.  By exercising their imaginations and experimenting with solutions, children can cultivate inventive thinking that leads to lightbulb moments — a skill that’s highly prized by employers.

Problem solving can boost social skills

Effective problem-solving often requires teamwork. Working with others helps children develop empathy and communication skills as children are taught to consider diverse perspectives, negotiate solutions, and work effectively with others. All of these are essential skills for building healthy relationships and thriving in diverse environments later in life, but they also boost shy children’s confidence, helping them to make friends and participate more in class.

Problem solvers are adaptable

In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt and solve problems creatively is increasingly important. By honing their problem-solving skills early, children are better equipped to navigate uncertain situations and respond to new challenges with confidence and flexibility.

Overall, fostering problem-solving skills in children early lays the groundwork for academic success, personal development, and lifelong learning. Children are empowered to become resilient, adaptable, and innovative individuals.

But how can we help shape confident, creative problem-solvers who in turn are ready to shape a brighter tomorrow?

How holistic learning fosters problem-solving skills in children

A holistic approach to learning is the best way to teach problem-solving skills. A blend of academic, creative, and social-emotional learning develops the whole child which enriches a child’s critical thinking ability, emotional resilience, and ignites their desire to learn.

Here’s how a holistic approach can help children problem-solve:

Building a web of knowledge

Subjects aren’t taught as separate entities but viewed as part of a wider web of knowledge that helps children make connections quicker and develop lateral thought. Whether through science experiments, historical roleplay, or a craft project, children are given multiple opportunities to identify patterns and test multiple solutions.

Identifying problems

Before you fix a problem, you need to know what it is. Holistic tutors view children as individuals with a unique set of strengths and challenges. By encouraging children to identify and vocalise problems e.g. “I find maths very difficult” or “I struggle to make friends”, tutors help them discover stumbling blocks and come unstuck.

Hands-On Learning

Children learn by doing. By actively engaging in a problem children deepen their understanding of complex concepts and approach a problem from multiple angles. This practical approach can also help shy children speak up and ask for help. It’s also an opportunity for them to learn the value of teamwork which instills a sense of community early.

Developing emotional intelligence

Clarity, compassion, and confidence are vital elements of problem-solving in the real world. Seeing problems from multiple perspectives helps de-escalate conflict and arrive at innovative solutions. This requires self-awareness, empathy, and resilience. Holistic classrooms foster all three through mindfulness practices, teaching children how to regulate tough emotions, and self-questioning to create thoughtful and resourceful problem-solvers.

Infinite possibilities

Imagination is prioritised because the more possible solutions you can think of the more likely it is you will find a solution. Tutors use imaginative play and creative activities to fire up children’s imaginations that help them view obstacles as creative challenges rather than insurmountable problems.

No Wrong Answers

Holistic teaching encourages curiosity and empowers children to ask multiple questions to reach the heart of a problem. Children become active learners as teachers guide them towards an answer instead of forcing their brains to learn by rote. Holistic classrooms are charged with an atmosphere of inspiration and discovery which relaxes and expands children’s minds.

Time to reflect

A key component of problem-solving is reflection. Children are encouraged to evaluate their mistakes in a curious, non-judgemental manner. Questions like, “What went wrong?” and “How could I have reacted differently?” helps children refine their thinking and coping strategies fosters a growth mindset that embraces learning and continuous improvement.

Embracing failure

Failure isn’t to be feared — it’s a part of life.

Holistic tutors let children know that it’s okay to make mistakes and get answers ‘wrong’. A fear of failure paralyzes a child’s ability to think critically and inhibits the likelihood of finding an effective solution. Children who fear failure will put more effort into avoiding problems instead of solving them. By teaching children that failure is normal and praising effort over outcomes, holistic tutors reduce barriers to learning and steer children towards a growth mindset.

LS Tuition’s Activity Arena

At LS Tuition we emphasise the why alongside the what.

Rote memorisation sends kids to sleep! By contrast creative collaboration and imaginative play stimulates neural pathways to inspire further learning.

When children understand the reasoning behind learning a particular set of skills they’re motivated to participate in lessons more deeply. To enable our young people to build their autonomy and critically analyse the world around them we’ve added an ‘Activity Arena’ to our Learning Space.

The Activity Arena has been strategically designed by our LS Tuition Tutors to provide learners with:

a picture of philosophy for kids book by David A White

Our learners are users of information rather than receivers. Knowledge should empower children to become active members of society who contribute by solving problems within their community, inspiring innovation, and thinking for themselves to create a brighter, better future.

Does your child struggle with problem-solving?

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing young learners get curious about the world around them and embrace their full potential. If your child gives up easily or feels deflated at their lack of progress we can help uncover their hidden talents and get them inspired by learning again.

Simply book a call to get started.

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