Critical thinking is one of the most fundamental and vital skills today’s students might need for their future. No matter if there is a need for analyzing a given situation, comprehending big data, or just finding ones’ true potential, this is an ability that will always come handy.
However, improving your child’s critical thinking skills takes discipline. It is a lifelong development process. Nonetheless, in the early years, giving them a good dose of opportunities and inspiration will help them to continue working on these skills even beyond high school graduation. Here are a few approaches that you can use when working with your child:
Encourage questioning and research
Pose open-ended questions to them
Connect information from books to the “real world”
Teach the practice of self-awareness
These are just a few ideas, but at the same time, when passing on these skills to children, starting out with just a few focused strategies works out better so as not to overwhelm them.
Give them room to ask questions
Asking questions is one of the most crucial approaches to critical thinking. Knowing what questions to ask, or even how to ask them, can help tremendously with developing problem solving skills.
By allowing your child to question what they read or just everything around them will help in the following areas:
their ability to focus their attention
their interpretation of text or any other visual or auditory stimuli
their ability to synthesize and evaluate information that’s given to them
Ask them open-ended questions
Incorporating this approach while encouraging your child to ask questions will make them think critically without accepting information, such as advertisements, automatically.
Basically, this practice promotes the development of communication and investigation skills. For instance, as the conversation with your child evolves, keep expanding on the topic, allowing them to develop a hypothesis based on what they said or want to do. Some examples of such questioning include the following:
“Why do you think that happened?”
“What’s going to happen next (or if…)”
“How do you know?”
Encourage information connection
If your child is reading by themselves, or you are reading together, ask them on how certain elements of the story are connected. Let them predict the ending based on what they’ve read or tell you what the text reminds them of. Critical analysis of possible story outcomes is a great practice in critical thinking.
Although not an easy approach, weighing given information by removing emotional judgment or personal biases will encourage not just situation analysis, but thinking outside of the box as well. As an illustration, here is a video that deals with this topic.
By practicing critical thinking during their childhood, you teach your children how to analyze the world around them. This practice provides more than just valuable test prep for the school years. It also fosters a lifelong love for learning and exploration. They will be very appreciative.
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