HOW DO YOU HELP A CHILD DEVELOP CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS?

“Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

As a 20th century grown up, I sometimes wonder how most of us form opinions too quickly by looking at others. Is this because we are lazy or is this because we lack critical thinking abilities which help in analyzing the facts. But first, do we understand what critical thinking is? In this article, you will get a clear understanding of what is critical thinking, why to have critical thinking abilities, and how to enhance critical thinking in children. 

Like right food is required when we are growing, right learning is also required while growing up. Critical Thinking helps children in developing the ability to make strong arguments based on logic, increases their curiosity and encourages them to ask questions, enhances their problem-solving skills and helps them deal with conflicts. 

Studies show that the kids trained in critical thinking do a better job in solving day to day problems. 

After talking about what and why Critical Thinking is necessary, let us look for how you can develop these abilities in children. Keep reading!

  1. Encourage children to ask questions
    To encourage your child to ask questions, you need to create an environment where the child feels safe to ask questions and be curious. You should value your child’s queries and try to answer as many questions as possible. Doing this would help the children gain knowledge. 

    When children ask questions, it makes them more inquisitive and curious. It gives them a sense of confidence which will help them get through school and do good in life. It will increase their curiosity, and they would like to know more about the things they see around them. It will increase their thinking and reasoning skills.

  2. Ask open-ended questions
    Allowing your child to answer your questions is a great way to develop critical thinking. It helps them focus and learn new things. Parents get to know the comprehension and retention skills of their children. It would allow children to find new ways to express themselves. 

    When your child tells you something, you say “Tell me more about this?” or give your child a hypothetical situation and ask them “How would you solve this problem?” Use why or how in your questions. 

    When we ask questions,  we are helping them inculcate the habit of tolerating others questions and accepting constructive criticism. At the same time, ensuring that we are not forcing them to answer every time will enable them with a sense of initiative and less intrusion into their minds by letting them think. Let them think comfortably and free. 

  3. Read together
    Reading fictional stories is best for developing critical thinking. It will not only enhance their reading skills but also their vocabulary. It will cultivate a sense of imagination and creativity in your child.  

    Parents should also ask questions about the story and its characters to practice their critical thinking and observational skills. Give them your inference of the story, it would make them active listeners and they would pay attention to what the other person is saying.

  4. Give them puzzles
    You can give children jigsaw puzzles, brainteasers, and maths problems to solve. It is a fun way to pass time, and it is beneficial for the children. It will enhance their problem solving and reasoning skills. It improves concentration and sharpens their memory. Problem solving tasks encourage children to think of creative solutions with the help of logic and reasoning. 

  5. Give them responsibility
    Giving them problems and responsibilities would make them think about how they will solve problems or look for a solution. Help them when needed but first, let them figure out the solution on their own.  

Open Brain Society believes that focusing on critical thinking, problem solving and logical thinking skills from a young age will help the child grow into an independent individual. The sooner the children are exposed to these skills, the brighter their future. 

They provide courses for students for high school level classes. The courses are based on real life learning along with classroom activities. Check out their website for information here.

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