Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child could evaluate all the available facts and information and make an informed decision after making a detailed analysis? It would, but this is not the goal of teaching critical thinking in a child.
Critical thinking allows your child to assess the situation at hand and make an informed judgment based on their prior experiences and expected outcomes. The ability to critically think can be developed up until your child reaches early adulthood when their frontal lobes are fully formed.
There are ways in which you can encourage your child to engage in critical thinking with simple exercises. There are an array of benefits that comes with helping a child to think such as:
- Generates curiosity and encourages your child to imagine.
- It engages your child in the decision making process which prompts them to ask more questions and learn.
- This is one of the best ways to teach your child to generate solutions to problems.
- Inculcating a thinking habit in a child early in their life can make them more open minded and observant towards the world. This in turn helps them understand themselves better.
- This might make your child more confident as they start to become better at real life problem solving.
- Children that are better at critical thinking may also do better in mathematical problem solving.
How to encourage critical thinking in your child?
After your child grows up they will have to make decisions for themselves. The ability to critically think and reach into a solution will allow them to become independent. When your child is small, you can pick them up whenever they fall or clean up after their mess. But when they start to grow into teenagers, they have to deal with their challenges themselves.
Although you cannot force this ability into anyone, there are ways in which you can teach your child to think critically even when they are children.
It can get frustrating sometimes when your child asks questions on top of questions repeatedly and you might be too tired to bother answering them. But always remember that asking questions is a very good learning behavior in a small child and you should encourage it. Children learn about new things from people that they trust. And you as a parent are the best source of information that they can trust. Encourage your child to engage in conversations by making them interesting and answering their “Wh” questions.
Not only is it enough to answer your child’s queries but when you both are engaged in a conversation you shouldn’t shy away from asking them simple questions. Whenever you find them pretend to play or to tell you a story, ask them simple details about the situation. This will prompt them to think and analyze their responses resulting in a boost in critical thinking.
Ask questions that encourage them to think of various ideas and scenarios such as: “what do you think we should do now?” or “why do you think that?”. Always remember to be respectful of their opinion and give them a compliment or appreciate their effort.
Don’t interrupt or intervene
So your baby is trying to explain an elaborate scenario or story but is taking too long to find the right words? Your child is learning to find the right words and solve the problem simultaneously. This might also be a learning moment for you that teaches you patience.
Although you might want to help them and finish their task because you can do it faster and better, let them figure it out on their own. Encourage them and correct them as needed but do not interfere in their learning process.
Games and Experiments
There are two ways you can teach your child about the world. One is through lecturing and telling them verbally how things work and the second is by showing them practically. It is definitely more effective for children to see and feel things visually than just hearing about them. Rather than saying how things work, perform experiments with your baby and answer their queries.
You can also engage them in board games or puzzles that will require them to think critically. Try to design or use games that are based on real life examples so that they can relate to it better. While playing, also engage them with friends and relatives so that they learn how to maintain relationships and communicate while also developing sportsmanship.
This might be one very common word that you keep hearing in your workplace, but is brainstorming essential for your baby as well? Of course it is! Brainstorming will lead to an inducing thinking process and result in creative ideas from your baby.
Make your child think about everything that they can think about. Note their favorite show and ask them to think about what might happen next. You can ask “Wh” them about a key moment in the show.
We are all the consequences of all the choices that we have made up throughout our lifetime. Your child needs to learn to make correct choices based on the available information. There will be mistakes and errors in the beginning but they will learn from them.
For instance, try to make them choose between a fork and a spoon when they are sitting down to drink soup. If they choose a fork, wait until you can show them that a spoon is a better-suited option for soups.
Letting your child make their decisions also gives them a sense of autonomy and self-control. They will learn from the consequences of their actions and make better judgments each time.
Encourage a regular reading habit in your child and read them about various topics. Reading boosts imagination and thinking in children. By reading you will engage your child in actively imagining scenarios and situations.
After you complete a story or a book, you can engage your baby in brainstorming. Ask them to either summarize the story or think of a different ending to the story that your baby thinks is better.
- 7 Ways To Boost Critical Thinking Abilities In Children: https://www.parentcircle.com/ways-to-boost-critical-thinking-abilities-in-children/article
- How to Teach Your Child to Be a Critical Thinker: https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-to-teach-your-child-to-be-a-critical-thinker-5190765
- 5 Ways to Encourage Critical Thinking with Your Toddler: https://thinklaw.us/5-ways-to-encourage-critical-thinking-with-your-toddler/
- 5 easy ways to increase your child’s critical thinking skills: https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/5-easy-ways-to-increase-your-child-s-critical-thinking-skills-1658486-2020-03-22
- Developing Critical Thinking Skills: https://www.brighthorizons.com/resources/Article/developing-critical-thinking-skills-in-children