Solving Problems With Others

The skills needed to solve problems are learned just like academic skills – they don’t develop on their own or overnight

reading in a group with teacher

What You Need to Know

Preschool children are still learning how to effectively resolve disagreements. To do so, they need to take the perspective of another person and understand how their actions impact others. For example, a child is not likely to think about how taking a toy from another child would make that child mad or sad, which stands in the way of finding a safe, fair solution. You can empower children to learn to solve their own problems by helping them to identify the problem, take another child’s perspective, and implement a solution when issues arise.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can help students to develop their problem solving skills before conflicts occur.

Practice Solving Problems

Encouraging children to think about and practice problem solving can prepare them to come up with solutions to issues happening in the moment.

Problem Solving During Center Time

Foster children’s problem solving skills by having them think and talk about the issue. Then work with them as they explore and agree on a resolution.

Use Solutions Cards

Using solution cards prompts children to find and accept solutions. Supports like this work to build children’s ability to problem solve.


Supporting Children to Solve Problems

In this webinar, educational coaches Stephanie Adams and Caitlin Powell present strategies we can use to support children to solve social problems in a hybrid or physically distanced classroom environment. This webinar includes a set of resources from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI).

Covid webinar social problem solving slide


Teach, Model, Support

Young children are still learning how to socialize, collaborate, and negotiate with others. With our support, children can learn these valuable skills and work together to find solutions as challenges arise. Learn key strategies you can use to teach collaborative problem solving in advance and support it in the moment.


The Power of Play

A brief video from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child lays out how play in early childhood is effective to reduce stress, including trauma, and scaffold problem-solving.


Families as a Resources

In this article from the Responsive Classroom, Carol Davis shares how teachers can have conversations with families about problems that occur in the classroom.


Considering Culture

In this webinar from NAEYC, Dr. Ercan offers transformative, yet practical ways teachers can start to understand children’s cultural backgrounds so that they can support children to solve social problems.



This book features two quarrelsome squirrels who are having a tough time sharing. This lends itself to talking about social problems – what the problem is, how it makes others feel, and how to best solve them so that everyone is in agreement.

Book Cover of NUTS!

Activity Cards

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways you can prompt children to collaborate and solve problems together.
Solve a Problem Activity Card

Solve a Problem

Create typical social scenarios that children can use to brainstorm solutions.

Partner Talk Card

Partner Talk

Invite children to turn to a peer and ask them something about their life.

Dance Party Card

Dance Party

You and children will work together to create a new dance.

People Sort Card

People Sort

Challenge children to sort themselves by patterns or colors on their clothing.


Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills