Posted in family life

problem solving as a preschooler

Rondel’s always been a bit more of an abstract thinker than Limerick. You can explain something to him in terms of concepts and principles and he’ll get it, whereas Limerick will simply stare at you blankly until you end up just telling him what you do and do not want him to do in this situation right now. (This has been a huge help in dealing with his sensitivities, since he has the capacity to discuss them rationally and reason out ways to cope with them.) As he gets older, he’s been able to use this framework of concepts in his mind to network facts and ideas together and come up with some pretty creative solutions to problems.

Lately, one of the problems that’s been on his mind is Limerick’s chair. Limerick has a booster seat buckled to a kitchen chair, and has a tendency to push it away from the table with his feet while sitting in it, as well as to stand up in it if he’s not strapped in. Both of these things make me really nervous that he’s going to tip over, and so we’ve been talking about some different options for our kitchen dining area. Rondel’s been listening to these discussions and adding his own thoughts to the mix.

First, he noted that his own chair won’t tip over because there is a wall right behind it. So, he said, if Limerick sat in his chair and he sat in Limerick’s chair, Limerick wouldn’t be able to fall over and hit his head. But then he, Rondel, might fall over and hit his head! (Gesturing with his hands on his head and a sad face to accompany this statement). So that wouldn’t be a good solution.

A day or so later, he brought up the subject and suggested that we simply build a wall behind Limerick’s chair so that he would be protected from falling over in the same way that Rondel is. He showed me where the wall should be, and presented the idea as a fully logical solution to the problem – which I suppose it is, to someone who has no concept of the time or expense that goes into building a wall, not to mention the spatial ridiculousness of a wall in that location! But I was impressed that he had made the connection and come up with an idea.

I was even more impressed a few days later, when, I suppose unable to understand why his parents hadn’t yet build said wall, he told me that he was going to build a wall, using blocks, because “Blocks are especially good for building!” And a few minutes later, there behind Limerick’s chair was a little wall, and a very proud big brother wanting to show me what he had made:


I asked him if I could take a picture of it and he got so excited! I love his initiative in doing something to solve this problem instead of waiting for the grown-ups to fix it, as well as his ingenuity in coming up with a solution and figuring out how he could implement it with the resources he had on hand.

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