Learning to think critically is one of the most important skills a child can pick up. In a world that is continuously changing, children need to have the ability to do much more than repeat what they know, they need to be critical thinkers. They need to understand how to make sense of information, analyse what they’ve learnt, compare, contrast and learn how to think better overall. If you are struggling to find ways to help your child develop their critical thinking skills, then you’ve come to the right place. Here is some advice from an independent school in Kingston upon Thames on where to start.
Building on critical thinking skills isn’t something that happens overnight and takes consistent effort to get it solid. Through simple day-to-day acts such as talking with your child and allowing them to figure out solutions to problems, they’ll be on the right path.
Start with their play. Playing can have more benefits to a child than just keeping them occupied. The use of building blocks, role playing with peers and playing board games will all aid to better critical thinking skills. This is because it encourages them to take the best approach possible to complete their activity.
When it comes to talking to your child, there are quite a few things to keep in mind. Pause and wait when it comes to their turn to speak and answer questions. Offering this time will allow them time to think and reflect on the answer instead of responding with the first answer that comes to mind. Don’t intervene, allow your child to answer questions for themselves. These small challenges are what will allow them to grow. Ask them open-ended questions. When speaking to children, it can become very easy to assume that they are capable of giving answers further than yes or no. However, giving children the chance to think about what potential outcomes can come from their answers can help them think critically. An open-ended question could be “what do you think will happen?” or “why did you choose this book?”.
Encourage your child to learn to think in different ways. By allowing them to do so, you will be helping them tap into their creative thinking skills too. Getting your child to think of possible solutions will also help them develop their critical thinking skills.
There will always be situations where children will not be able to think of solutions independently which is where it is completely fine for parents to step in. Model the critical thinking process by being verbal about the steps taken when making a decision. Allow your child to pick up on these and practice them through their daily activities. They will be a natural in no time.
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