“Hmm, that sounds like a problem.”
If you hang out around our house long enough, you’ll hear me say that phrase over and over and over again. I’m a big believer in teaching kids to think about each and every situation as a problem they can solve. Sure, they may need some help solving whatever challenge they’re facing — and that’s ok — but I think it’s important that they figure out what they need on their own, then ask for the specific help they need. (That is unless it’s 7:38pm and there’s another wet towel on the floor and dirty socks lining the hallways and a grumbling in my tummy, of course. Then I’ll do just about anything they ask me to in the hopes of getting them in bed.)
This approach? It works for a wide range of things. It can be as simple as looking at the empty glass Big slams on the dinner table and saying, “Hmm, I see your glass is empty. That looks like a problem.” Or as insightful as, “Wow, Pink’s baby doll is on the roof. That looks like a problem.” Or as heartbreaking as, “Yikes, I see you really want to hurt your sister today. That seems like a problem.”
While I sometimes get an eye roll, a frustrated sigh, and even a, “Mom, will you just do it for me?!” now and then, my kids seem to be getting it. Well, Big is at least. Here’s how I know.
The other night he read Brady Needs a Nightlight to us at bedtime. It’s a sweet story about a bat who’s different from the rest because he’s afraid of the dark. As the story progresses, he finds the perfect solution, and is happy — day and night.
After we read it, I asked the boys if they liked it. They both shouted, “Yeah!” Then Big went on, “It’s a really good book because he had a problem and he figured out a way to solve it all by himself.” Yes! Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking! Which is either really cool, or really scary…in this case, I’ll go with cool. This book wasn’t just about being afraid of the dark, it was bigger than that. In a very simple, but important way.
So now, beyond just the usual, “Hmm, that sounds like a problem.” I’ll also have, “What do you think Brady would do?” And goodness knows, this crazy ol’ bat? She could use some help from a creative little one.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.Photo Credit: BrianBarlicsAuthor.com