5 Essential Steps to Help Children Cope with Stress

5 Essential Steps to Help Children Cope with Stress

(Translated from 5 Essential Steps to Help Children Cope with Stress by biglifejournal.com)

Studies show that children and teens are more stressed out today than ever before.  The combined pressures of schoolwork, high-stakes exams, social life, sports or other activities, plus lots of screen time have resulted in much higher levels of anxiety and stress among young people.

We can’t completely eliminate stress for our children.  Plus, shielding your child from the difficulties of life won’t do her any favors.  It’s far more powerful to raise a resilient child who can bounce back from hardship and challenges.  Since stress is a natural part of life, your goal is to teach your child healthy strategies for coping with stress.  You can start by following the five steps below.

Step 1: Reframe Stress

Help your child shift from a “stress hurts” mindset to a “stress helps” mindset. Stress can be an impetus to growth if children understand that stressful situations won’t last forever. Instead, these situations represent challenges to overcome and lessons to learn.  Cognitive neuroscientist and author Ian Robertson compares the stress response system to the immune system: It gets stronger with practice.  After a strong stress response, the brain rewires itself to remember and learn from the experience. This is how the brain prepares you to handle similarly stressful situations the next time around.

“Children need to experience a certain amount of adversity so that both their body and mind become toughened and resilient.”

– Ian Roberson

Stress causes the brain to secrete a chemical called noradrenaline.  The brain can’t perform at its best with too much noradrenaline, but guess what?  Too little noradrenaline isn’t good either. Reasonably low stress levels can actually build stronger brain function, which makes humans smarter and happier, according to Robertson.  Armed with the information above, you’re ready to help your child reframe stress. Follow the steps below to get started:

1) Adopt the “stress helps” mindset yourself.  Accept that you can’t prevent stress, that some stress is actually beneficial, and that stress can be an opportunity to grow.  If you don’t have this mindset, it will be almost impossible to teach it to your child. (Plus, reducing your own stress is vital—stress can be “contagious.” When your child senses your stress, it actually alters her physiology to automatically go into stress mode too.)

2) Understand the reasons behind your child’s stress, rather than dismiss it.  To an adult, a child’s problems may seem trivial. But they seem big to the child, and they are causing the child genuine stress or discomfort.   

3) Help your child reframe stress by discussing the following:

  • Stress is a natural part of life.
  • Stress comes and goes.
  • Stressful situations can be beneficial if you learn from them, take action, and seek solutions.  Provide examples from your own experiences.

4) Guide your child to find areas of growth or lessons that can come from her latest challenge.

  • Ask your child to think of previous stressful situations. What did she learn from those experiences?
  • What strengths did she use to handle these situations?
  • What strengths can she use now?

Once stress is viewed as an opportunity for growth, your child will develop a much healthier relationship with stress and find it easier to manage.

Step 2: Shift from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

Reframing stress means that your child will need to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindsetStudies show that even brief growth mindset training significantly reduces stress and improves grades among teens.  In stressful situations, we often feel overwhelmed and are more likely to fall into a fixed mindset thought process: There’s nothing much we can do to change the situation, our abilities are limited to what we can do, and we might as well stop trying.

For example, if your child is stressed about exams, she might think, “It doesn’t matter how much I study. I’ll never be able to pass these tests. It’s hopeless.”  Help your child look at the situation from a growth mindset perspective: It’s not fixed, it can be improved, and she does have the power to influence the situation.  If you hear your child say a fixed mindset statement like, “I can’t do this,” or, “I’m just not good at math,” help her find a growth mindset alternative. Encourage your child to practice growth mindset affirmations, and remind her that putting forth effort and trying different solutions will help her solve the problem and reduce her stress.  

Of course, a mindset shift doesn’t happen overnight. Throughout this process, focus on and celebrate incremental improvement. For more tips on teaching growth mindset, visit our blog article of 3 ways parents can instill a growth mindset.

Step 3: Stop Catastrophic Thinking

Often, children and teenagers (and sometimes adults) respond to stress with catastrophic thinking.  “If I fail this test, my whole life is ruined!” or, “Sarah is being mean to me. No one will ever like me!”  When this occurs, start by validating your child’s emotions so she feels heard and understood. “I understand you’re feeling nervous about your algebra test.”

Next, use the “worst case scenario exercise.”  Ask your child, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  If your child really does fail the test, or if Sarah keeps being mean, what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?

You can also ask your child how likely it is that this scenario will happen, or if any other scenarios are MORE likely to occur.  Conclude by asking, “What would you do if that did happen?” and help your child brainstorm if she struggles to come up with a solution.  Coming up with a potential solution will help your child feel more in control of her stress. Once she has a plan for the worst case scenario, she’ll also spend much less time worrying.  The purpose of this exercise is NOT to dismiss your child’s fears, but to help your child realize that the “worst thing” is probably not as catastrophic as she initially imagined.

Step 4: Practice Problem-Solving

Once your child has reframed stress and adopted a growth mindset, she needs to learn how to put these ideas into practice by problem-solving.  This will likely take many examples, modeling, and real-life experience before it truly takes root. A good starting point is to teach your child the following three-step process:

  • Step One: Naming and validating emotions. Ask your child to name how she’s feeling—overwhelmed, worried, anxious—and then repeat it back to her. “I understand you’re worried that you won’t do well on your exam.”
  • Step Two: Processing emotions.  Guide your child to her calming space.  If she doesn’t have one, it’s a good idea to create it.  Let her calm her body and process her emotions so she’s ready to reflect, learn, and grow.  You may have older children take deep breaths or practice some growth mindset affirmations. “I can do well on this test if I try.”
  • Step Three: Problem Solving! Brainstorm solutions with your child, doing more listening than talking during the conversation.  For instance, your child may come up with solutions such as studying with a friend who’s doing well in the class, asking the teacher for extra help, or devoting a certain amount of time to studying each day.

Once you’ve brainstormed solutions, help your child think through the positive and negative consequences of each proposed idea, then choose one.  If the initial plan (let’s call it Plan A) doesn’t work, your child will have numerous backup plans ready and waiting. Knowing this will make her problem much less stressful.  And once she masters the art of problem-solving, she’ll have the tools she needs to tackle stressful situations on her own.

Step 5: Use Stress-Management Techniques

The techniques listed above will work best when your child is in a calm state of mind that’s conducive to thinking critically and logically.  You can help your child achieve this calm state using stress-management techniques. There are many strategies for managing stress, so consider trying a few of the techniques listed below to determine what works for your child:

  • Deep breathing: Breathe in deeply, hold the breath for a moment, then slowly release it. Repeat the process until your child feels calmer.
  • Stretching: This helps release built-up tension in muscles.
  • Listening to music 
  • Playing, exercising, or heading out into nature 
  • Using brain breaks when facing a tough academic challenge
  • Laughing: Laughter can be a great stress reliever. Make silly faces or tell jokes to calm your child before discussing the problem.
  • Meditation: Can be as simple as having your child close her eyes and breathe in and out. Tell your child to count each breath (a breath in and a breath out makes one single count), focusing on the sound of her breath. When she reaches at least a certain count (50, for example), your child can take a deep breath, release it slowly, and open her eyes.

Remember that these techniques are not intended to eliminate the stress. Rather, they help your child reach a calm state of mind so she can address the source of her stress and solve the problem.


When we view all stress as negative and unhealthy and attempt to eliminate it, we ultimately create more stress, for both ourselves and our children.  Instead, it’s best to teach our kids that stress is a natural part of life that can be managed effectively.

Start by helping your child reframe stress, shifting from a fixed mindset and the idea that “stress hurts” to a growth mindset and the belief that “stress helps.”  Help your child learn to recognize and stop catastrophic thinking, and teach her how to identify the stressor (main problem) and then brainstorm solutions. You can also try stress-management techniques to help your child reach a calm state of mind.

Your child can’t control how stressful situations unfold, but she can control how she responds to them.  Instead of going into meltdown mode, she’ll go into problem-solving mode, allowing her to conquer the challenge and learn valuable lessons along the way.


Education News – Dec 23, 2019

Education News – Dec 23, 2019

Fully-funded undergraduate scholarship from Brown University 2020

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. The school ranks 14 in the 2018 edition of Best College. Similarly, according to the 2016 edition of QS World University Rankings, it ranks 25th in the whole world. Brown is providing fully funded undergraduate scholarships to both domestic and international applicants. Applicants should be able to demonstrate high academic achievement and their passion for learning through their application essay.  Admission office makes the decision regarding one’s admission regardless of the financial situation of the applicant. Brown University has one the best scholarship budget with over $50 million each year. All applications can apply to Brown online via the Common Application
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Fully-funded scholarship from Cornell University, U.S. 

Cornell University is a private Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. The school ranks 16 in the 2018 edition of Best College, and 14th in the whole world according to the 2016 edition of QS World University Rankings. Cornell is offering fully funded scholarships to meet the full demonstrated need of every admitted student. Cornell is need-blind for all the domestic applicants whereas it has a need-based policy for international students. Admission office makes the decision regarding one’s admission considering the financial situation of the applicant. All applicants apply to Cornell online via the Common App
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Undergraduate scholarships from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand ($10,000-$20,000)

The University of Canterbury (UC) is offering bachelor scholarships for international students to recognize and support exceptional international students who want to start an undergraduate program at the school. The scholarship program offers financial assistance worth $ 20,000, or $ 15,000 or $ 10,000, paid into the beneficiary’s tuition account when registering for the program. Up to twenty-five scholarships can be awarded this year. The University of Canterbury is New Zealand’s second-oldest university,  which was established in 1873 and ranked within the top 500 universities in the world. It gives students an excellent educational foundation that you will be able to turn into an amazing career.  
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Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

There is nothing cuter than seeing the excitement on a child’s face while they tear into gifts early on Christmas morning, especially when you’ve picked out something that they absolutely love.  But for all that, choosing what to get your little one can be somewhat overwhelming. We rack our brains to try and think of something different, find something that’s not over-the-top, keep it fun and sneak in something practical.  It’s no easy feat. 

To make your holiday season a bit easier, we’ve gathered a list of the best Christmas gifts for kids of all ages and interests.  Whether your children are music lovers, aspiring scientists, or budding jewelry designers, these gift ideas for kids are guaranteed to make their holiday extra special this year.

1. Gifts of Learning & Expanding Horizons

Educational toys are one of the best options, as they feed her brain, hungry for neural stimulation. More importantly, the impact of educational gifts lasts a lifetime.  These gifts can aid her love for learning, the most important attitude towards making your child grow up educated. A great educational gift could even trigger what may be your child’s lifelong passion.  There are a variety of gifts that match all levels of learning – and budgets – and they can be high-tech or low-tech. Here are our top picks for the best educational toys for kids:

  • Magna-Tiles: Magna-Tiles are a creative way to introduce educational topics like shapes, colors, principles of magnets, symmetry, and more.  Various sets are available with different piece counts and color options.
  • Gardening Sets: Gardening provides kids with lots of opportunities to learn about botany and ecosystems and best of all get them outside! Little kids will enjoy this gardening set, while older kids are better suited for this one.


  • Science Kits: Science can be a fascinating topic, and there are many great kits that make it easy for kids to run their own scientific experiments.  The best part about science kits is that they’re equally educational and entertaining. Since every child has different interests, it’s a good idea to select products based on age.  Some suggestions of science kits for your little scientist:

2. Gifts of Creativity

Do you have a young aspiring artist at home?  What better way to encourage your child’s creativity than with the gift of art!  Kids of all ages have a natural fondness for creating by drawing, painting, and crafting.  And while you can go a long way with regular paint, and paper, you can never go wrong with some more inspiration and cool tools.

  • DIY Kits: Kids will love making their own miniature house, glycerine soap, slime, or paint their own T-shirts with these kits.

  •  Arts and Crafts Supplies: While nothing can beat paints, paper, and crayons for simple art projects, children sometimes need more inspiration and props to express their creativity in the best manner possible.  One of the best things you can do as a parent to initiate a child into arts and crafts is to give them the right tools and some guidance and let them go at it. A few art and craft gifts you can present to the young artist in your life:
  • Kids Journals: Sometimes it is much easier to write down our innermost feelings than to say them out loud.  Journals can be a fun way to encourage kids to write. Give your child a special journal where just you two can write personal thoughts to each other.  Finding a fun blank book works for some kids but having a few prompts can make for a fun activity.
    >>> My first diary

3. Gifts of Reading

If you’ve got a little bookworm on your hands and are looking to get them a special gift to add to their personal library this holiday season, there are so many other book-related items that any young reader would be excited to receive.  No matter how old your reader is, there’s something for everyone.  

>> Additionally, parents can find more recommendations of non-Christmas books, as well as explore some techniques to choose the right book for your child on our blog: https://blog.e2.com.vn/?s=books

  • Kid storybook torch: This toy takes reading to the next level. This interactive toy is a pleasant design and cute image-changing picture projector allows children to continuously enjoy the play of hands and fingertips, stimulating the whole brain when viewing the images.  It encourages the development of your child’s imagination through bedtime fantastic stories. Not afraid of the dark anymore!

4. Gifts of Family time & Experiences

If your kids already has everything she needs, an off-the-wall gift isn’t going to make her happy.  A recent article in the Atlantic discussed how research shows that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions.  Here are a few of the experiences parents can give kids during the holidays:  

  • Vacations: This doesn’t have to be abroad tours or trips outside of the city. Even just a weekend trip to an amusement park or a card to one of the libraries around the city can be a good gift for kids.  If you are living in Ho Chi Minh city, there are numerous libraries providing creative learning spaces for students and families to choose as their weekend destination. Explore top 4 libraries for families in Ho Chi Minh city here
  • Extracurricular Activities: Let’s face it, the cost of extracurricular activities can add up. If your kid has wanted to try out an extracurricular activity that stretches the budget why not give it as a gift? Relatives and parents can contribute to the cost and kids will likely appreciate these activities more if they come in the form of a gift. There are some good places in Ho Chi Minh city that provide extracurriculars for kids at young ages, such as Vietopia, Konnit zone, Tatuplay or Family garden.
  • Magic set: Kids are fascinated by magic, and this set teaches them how to do magic while learning about illusions, as well as developing confidence, social skills and self-discipline. Magic teaches kids to think from another person’s perspective and how they are feeling. If your child is a magic lover, consider getting her this set of magic props, which is perfect for children who are new to the art of magic.
  • Board Games: Create a tradition of a family game night with the gift of a few board games. Kids won’t realize that they’re actually building word knowledge, vocabulary, and reading skills with these fun board games:
    Scrabble and Scrabble Jr.: kids always have fun with these classics. The junior version is best for kids who are still learning how to spell. (Vietnamese parents can find Scrabble at boardgame.vn and tiki.vn)

    – Monopoly: Monopoly has endured as one of the best family board games of all time. Based on owning and renting property as you progress around the game board, Monopoly can help train your little one the financial mindset. (For Vietnamese parents: Buy Monopoly at boardgame.vn or tiki.vn).
    Zingo! Sight Words: Help younger kids learn their sight words with this bingo format. (For Vietnamese parents: Buy Zingo at tiki.vn or shipto.vn)

Choosing a gift that has meaning and appeals to your child can be a challenging balancing act. We hope these suggestions can give you some ideas to make this Christmas the most memorable for your child and make her dreams come true! If you have any other tips for finding meaningful gifts for kids, let us know in the comment!




















Education News – Dec 16, 2019

Education News – Dec 16, 2019

Undergraduate Scholarship For Students Of International Baccalaureate Program From The University of Bath, UK 2020 (Up To £6,000)

The University of Bath is offering The International Baccalaureate 50th Anniversary Scholarship – an award of a first year tuition fee waiver worth up to £6,000.  This Scholarship is aimed at overseas students studying the International Baccalaureate who have demonstrated academic excellence in their studies. All overseas students receiving this award will receive a first year tuition fee waiver worth up to £6,000.  To be eligible, the applicants must be assessed as a new first-year overseas fee-paying student, achieve 42 points or higher in the International Baccalaureate (IB) and have to accept a place on a full-time campus-based undergraduate course starting in 2020.  The undergraduate degree program will be awarded in any subject offered by the university.
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Full Scholarship For Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral Levels At Donghua University From Shanghai Government, China 2020

Each year,  Shanghai Government award 40 scholarships in China for international students to pursue Undergraduate, Master or Post Doctoral Degree.  In 2020, Donghua University is appointed to accept international students under Shanghai Scholarship. All-academic fields/majors are available to study in Shanghai Donghua University.  The duration of bachelor degree is 4 years, master 2-3 years, and 4 years for doctoral degrees. No IELTS/TOEFL certificate is required. There are 2 types of scholarships: type A will cover full tuition fees, campus accommodation, medical insurance and monthly living allowances (Undergraduate 25,00RMB/Month; Master 3,000RMB/Month; Ph.D. 3500RMB/Month) and type B, including full tuition fee and medical insurance.  Students have to apply online for both the Shanghai Government Scholarship & Donghua University Application Portal. 
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Why Your Kids Struggle With Math Word Problems (and how you can help)

Why Your Kids Struggle With Math Word Problems (and how you can help)

Have you noticed that your child’s homework contains more word math problems than ever before?  Math word problems are regarded as a vital part of the mathematics curriculum, as it enhances the student’s mental skills, helps develop logical analysis and boosts creative thinking.  Learning to solve math word problems from a young age provides the foundation students need to solve similar problems when they enter the workplace.

However, word problems are hard.  Word problems are confusing. And our kids hate doing word problems.  Whether your child excels in math or struggles to understand mathematical concepts and formulas, math word problems are often an entirely new entity that can cause even mathematically skilled children to struggle.  Math word problems require a different skill set than standard math problems that children will need to master in order to succeed. To get the right answer, your child has to be able to read the words, figure out what math operation to use, and then do the calculations correctly.  A breakdown in any of these skills can lead to difficulty.

If your child seems to be good at math, but has trouble with word problems, here are possible reasons why—and ways you can help.

Why Your Kids Struggle With Math Word Problems

Children often struggle with math word problems because they require an ability to analyze information and extract only the useful elements. Instead of being told directly what operation they need to do, they have to discover it themselves before they can even begin to figure out the solution.  Students struggle with math word problems for many reasons, but there are 3 main problems that we at Everest Education find many students have encountered:

#Reason1: Trouble With Reading

To solve word problems, children have to read well.  One reason your child may be struggling is because she has trouble with reading in general.  How do you know if this is a difficult area for them? Try reading a word problem to your child.  If your child gets the correct answer when you read it aloud, but not when reading the problem on their own, it could be a challenge with reading.

#Reason2: Trouble Understanding Math Phrases and Concepts

Even if kids are strong readers, they may have trouble picking up on clues in word problems.  These clues are phrases that help students figure out what they need to do to solve the problem.  Kids must translate these phrases into what teachers call “a number sentence.” Here’s a simple example of a word problem and its corresponding number sentence:

  • Word problem: “Sue has two pencils. She spends one hour at the store and buys three more pencils. How many pencils does Sue have in all?”
  • Number sentence: “2 + 3 = ____.”

Some kids can picture a number sentence like this one in their heads.  Others need to write it down. Either way, there’s a lot to think about before getting to the point where you can calculate that the answer is 5.  To turn a word problem into a number sentence, kids need to understand the language and concepts of math. For example, they need to know that the phrase “How many pencils in all?” means adding together the two groups of pencils.  Some kids have a lot of trouble with this skill. That’s why a child who can easily calculate 2 + 3 = 5 might struggle with a word problem using the same calculation.

#Reason3: Trouble With Focus and Self-Control

Some kids can read a word problem and explain how it should be solved, but still get the wrong answer. What’s going on? One reason could be trouble with focus and self-control.  Kids may get distracted by the words or get lost in their heads.  This can lead to confusion with the math. Other kids struggle with self-control and rush through the problem.  They may skip important parts or make simple calculation mistakes. Extra information in word problems can trip kids up, too.  Some details aren’t needed to solve the problem. For example, kids don’t need to know that Sue spent one hour in the store to figure out how many pencils she has.  Kids need to learn to weed out this information.

Help your child overcome the fear of word problems

Math problems can be a struggle and helping kids understand them isn’t always easy.  Here we suggest parents some simple ways to help your child tackle math word problems with ease:

1. Utilize math in everyday life
Your child’s math homework may have a problem that involves going to the grocery store and figuring out a total bill, or baking in the kitchen following a new recipe.  Try recreating this in real life and help your child learn to use math in practical ways. You can also make a game of it and show your child that math can be fun!

>> Find out some playful Math activities to play with your primary kids at home to enhance math learning: https://blog.e2.com.vn/playful-math-activities-for-your-primary-kids/

2. Teach your child  a logical process
If your child is struggling with math word problems, teach her a logical process to go through to determine what needs to be done.  These steps should be:

  • Question – Read the problem to determine what the question is.
  • Information – Determine what information you have.
  • Clue words – What words tell you the math process to use.
  • Equation – Use the information, question and clue words to write an equation.
  • Check your work – Does your answer make sense compared to the given information and the question?

Once your child can learn to use this process on a regular basis, you will find that she has much more success with word problems.

3. Teach your child common keywords
Many students read a word problem and have no idea what to do with it. Yet most word problems at primary grade levels have clue words in them.  Helping your child understand which words are associated with different mathematical functions can help steer her in the right direction to find the final answer.  For instance, “and” usually indicates an addition problem, while “less than” may clue you into a subtraction problem and “product of” means you’ll need to multiply.  That’s why parents should teach your child to identify those clue words, to help ease the struggle. Here are the basic clue words:

  • Addition – Combined, increased, total of, sum, added to, together, plus
  • Subtraction – Minus, less, less than, fewer than, difference, decreased, take away, more than
  • Multiplication – Multiplied, product of, times, of
  • Division – Divided by, into, per, quotient of, percent, out of, ratio of

Parents can make index cards with phrases that are commonly used in word problems. For example, one index card might show “in all” next to the “+” sign. Another card might show “all together” next to the “+” sign.  When your child works on math homework, encourage your child to get into the habit of matching an index card to each phrase in a word problem.

>> To help your child quickly get along with basic math terms in English, click here to download our free printable flashcards, created by Everest Education’s math teachers.

4. Use Manipulates or Diagrams

Sometimes visualizing the problem can give the student the tools needed to solve it. For problems with small amounts, you can use math manipulatives to help your child picture what is happening. For larger amounts or measurements, draw a diagram. This action gets additional learning processes involved and helps make the word problem a visual concept for the child to consider. You can also ask kids to close their eyes and try to picture what’s happening in the problem: “Imagine the first group of pencils joining together with the second group and forming one large group.” 

 Make it more concrete by using coins, toothpicks, or other objects. Use them to form the two small groups, and then combine them into one group. This is also one of many useful techniques that our teachers often apply in our math classes, where we use manipulatives such as paper, coins, building blocks as tangible objects to introduce new concepts, help students approach and solve problems.  The key to making word problems solvable for your child is to make them understandable and then provide the right practice and support. 

5. Improve your child’s ability to focus
Ask your child to read through the problem once. Then, have your child read it again, circling the important words and phrases. This is called active reading. It can help your child stay focused and avoid rushing. Another strategy is using blank pieces of paper to cover all the problems except the one your child is doing. You can also try making a list of things for your child to double-check. 

>> Additionally, parents can learn more about 3 Reasons Why Your Child Does Not Stay Focused In School, as well as find out some Expert Tips to Improve Your Child’s Focus in Class from our old articles.  Once you’ve tried a few of these suggestions, you might have an idea why your child is struggling with math word problems. 

6. Practice, practice, practice!
How can your child become a better problem-solver?  By solving more problems, of course! In order for a child to gain mastery of word problems, she needs practice.  To get your child comfortable with the process of solving math word problems, you and your child can talk through how to solve the problem before she attempts to find the answer.  There are a number of websites that offer free sample problems for your child to tackle.  If she needs additional help, you can come to visit us at Everest Education,  where we help students strategize and solve equations with confidence. We offer personalized Singapore math program covering all math topics, including word problems, and provide personalized instruction to ensure that students make adjustments as needed when practicing.

Word problems are a big change from traditional math problems, and they require a different set of skills that children may not have developed yet.  It can be tricky, but by developing a process and practicing on a regular basis, word problems will no longer be difficult. We hope these exercises can help develop your child’s logical and abstract thinking skills as well as help them strengthen her problem-solving abilities.