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Children's bedtime stories that end in unsolved problems and inspire the development of a problem-solving mindset

Image credit: Anita Robinson, Irish News

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 06, 2021
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Children's bedtime stories that end in unsolved problems. The protagonist retreats into their thinking corner determined to solve the problem that stands in the way of a prospective happy ending.
Why?
  • Help kids develop a problem-solving mindset.
  • Teach kids to be self-reliant.
How it works
Create a series of books for different age groups. The stories and complexity of problems should be tailored to the age. As the age increases, so should the length of the stories and the complexity of the main problem. Stories for 2-5-year-olds are short and simple.
Stories for older kids
In each story, the main character is on a mission. S/he encounters various problems on the way. In the attempt to idenitfy the root of the problem and understand it well, s/he thinks out loud, consults other characters. A few problems are relatively easy to solve and are dealt with quickly.
Then the character runs into a bigger problem that requires more effort. S/he goes on a side-quest to:
  • build the necessary skills
  • research and learn the necessary knowledge
  • find and partner with characters that have the necessary skill for the challenge
The bigger problem is eventually solved successfully.
Then with a happy end in sight, the character encounters one final problem. S/he takes it as a challenge and decides to solve it with great determination. S/he goes to think about it into their special thinking place (shower, forest walk, work desk, etc). Describe the thinking place and why it works well for the character. The protagonist struggles comming up with a solution for a long time and finally decides to take a rest. S/he come up with a plan on how s/he will jump start their cretivity after the break. The story ends here.
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Creative contributions

Treasure hunt within the story

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Aashi Agarwal
Aashi Agarwal Nov 07, 2021
Towards the end, the story could bring into picture a reward for the character on successfully completing the quest. The child could be told to think of it as a treasure hunt for themselves where solving the last problem could unearth treasure- a new book, coupons for extended bedtime story sessions or anything educative that parents wish to offer the child. Each unsolved mystery would lead to a lost opportunity. This could help provide the push a child might need to continue thinking about the problem.
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Miloš Stankovića month ago
A great way to incentivize the kids is to have toys of the story's characters gifted to them - after they finish the tale by finding a solution. These can serve as important 3D reminders of the sense of achievement that would be with the kid daily. It's also a great way of earning toys.
Possibly even having the service make a model toy out of a kid's picture so it too can be among the characters. It can be an even stronger reminder that the kid was a part of the story heroes' journey.
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Failure is ok

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 07, 2021
The main character should often fail throughout the story but keep on trying. The mindset should be that every attempt is an experiment to see if it will work. if not, it's ok, the character will figure out another way.
There would be some nasty character that is laughing at the failures. There should be some critics. After the main character succeeds, the critics should shrug it off and go find another victim that is currently failing.
Teach the child that perseverance is key. Also, teach them that staunch critics need other people's failures. It justifies giving in to fear and not trying themselves.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. - Winston Churchill
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Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevica month ago
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. - Thomas Edison
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Story template

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 29, 2021
These are the steps the story's main character encounters:
  1. Formulate their thoughts about something that bothers them and decide to do something about it. Set a worthy goal and go on a journey to achieve it.
  2. Understand the problem from first principles.
  3. Encounter additional related problems, think, solve them in clever ways (establish a pattern)
  4. Encounter a difficult obstacle. Think, try, fail, think, try, fail (failure is ok, perservere)
  5. Seek help, think together, try, fail (collaboration)
  6. Relax, take time off. Think, prepare/learn (relax, think with a clear head, make a plan)
  7. Succeed
  8. Make a great plan, run into a new problem, confidently know that you will solve it, the story ends, ask the child to try and solve the problem (life continues, there will always be problems, build confidence in your ability at solving them)
The character understands that in order to achieve a goal s/he needs to:
  • build the necessary skills
  • research and learn the necessary knowledge
  • find and partner with others that have the necessary skills for the challenge
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Children's bedtime stories where each story revolves around stoic principles

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 09, 2021
Children's stories where the main character discovers important lessons of stoicism. For example, each story can revolve around one of the following questions:
  • Who are you spending time with?
  • Is this in my control?
  • What does your ideal day look like?
  • To be or to do?
  • If I am not for me, who is? If I am only for me, who am I?
  • What am I missing by choosing to worry or be afraid?
  • Are you doing your job?
  • What is the most important thing?
  • Who is this for?
  • Does this actually matter?
  • Will this be alive time or dead time?
  • Is this who I want to be?
  • What is the meaning of life?
In the beginning of the story, the character faces a situation where they ask themselves one of these questions. They then go on a quest to discover the answer.

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Short stories as seen from several very different perspectives

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 10, 2021
The same short story, but seen from 2-3 very different perspectives. This teaches kids to consider what things feel/look like from other people's perspectives.
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