The Wellbeing Zone ~ Waiora ki Kaikorai

By Kristen Ferguson | Posted: Thursday November 24, 2022

Size of the Problem is a social skills concept used to help students identify the severity of their problems which then allows them to choose an appropriate reaction. When students have a common language to describe their problems and reactions, they can identify solutions

Small Problem: Can be solved easily, affects only 1-2 people, and does not impact mood or other situations. An example could be that your child stubbed their toe, or they lost their pencil. 

Medium Problem: Takes more time to solve, impacts more people, stronger feelings are involved (disappointment, frustration, confusion), and may need help to work through it. An example of this could be they are experiencing friendship issues, or they have broken their arm. 

Big Problem: Takes extended time to work through, impacts a group or community, very strong/uncomfortable feelings (anger, grief, sadness) are involved, and requires a lot of help and support. An example of this could be a natural disaster, or a death of a loved one. 

Some children may think that they problem they are encountering is a BIG problem, but to adults, it's a small problem. The trick is to acknowledge that their problem might feel big, but in actuality, it can easily be resolved. 

This website has a simple activity you could do with your child at home to help them understand the size of their problem. All classes have also implemented a metaphorical object to help students identify the size of the problem. It might be an ice cream cone with 1, 2 or 3 scoops, or a minnow, clown fish, whale example. Encourage your child to come up with their own way to identify the size of the problem they are experiencing.

What's the Size of the Problem? (video) - This is a10min 50sec video explaining to children the size of their problems and the reactions to those problems. It extends the problems from 3 sizes to 5 sizes to differentiate between problems even more. 

If you'd like more information around this topic, or if you need support in helping your child recognise the size of their problem, please get in touch with me.

Ko te rahi o o raru he mea noa ki to kaha ki te whakaoti ~ The size of your problems is nothing compared to your ability to solve them.

Kristen Ferguson 

([email protected])

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