How Preschoolers Solve Problems

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How preschoolers solve problems is very different from older children.

Preschool children are still highly multisensory. They learn and solve problems when they touch and do.

For instance, three-year-olds may not be as assertive as 2-year-olds; they may whine and try to manipulate adults to solve problems for them.

4-year-olds may be aggressive as they try out new problem-solving skills.

Five-year-olds are eager to please adults and will often solve problems to satisfy them.

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Ways to Respond

• Provide items for children to touch and do as they learn to solve problems.
• Allow time and space for children.
• Help children solve problems in age-appropriate ways. For example, when children whine, give them choices to solve the problem. For example, say, “You may use your regular voice or you may be quiet” instead of “Don’t whine!”
• When 4-year-olds go out of bounds, define appropriate solutions.
• Praise 5-year-olds’ problem-solving skills.

Jody Capehart is an author and a Christian education consultant and speaker in Texas.


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