How to help your child think critically

Children are inundated with messages, facts, and visuals every day. They need to learn how to analyze what they are absorbing to establish their thoughts and beliefs, whether they are at school, on the internet, or speaking to their friends. The basis of education is critical thinking, which is also a crucial life skill. Children who lack the capacity for critical thought will have academic difficulties, especially as they age. Whatever career path your child chooses, they will need to be able to think critically, solve issues, and make judgments. It’s crucial that, before they leave their nest, your children are capable of independent thought and have acquired a healthy critical perspective.

Critical Thinking: What Is It?

The capacity to describe a challenge, identify presumptions, analyze ideas, and reason critically are all parts of the collection of mental habits and skills known as critical thinking. From there, one can systematically list various reasons, come up with workable solutions, or assess the correctness of a solution using logical reasoning. It also requires the ability to creatively connect ideas from many academic subjects. This is what John Dewey (1859–1952), an American psychologist, philosopher, and teacher, called “reflective thinking”. 

Critical thinking, according to Dewey, is the deliberate, active examination of a claim or purported body of knowledge. It entails actively engaging in critical analysis of ideas rather than merely accepting them at face value. The goal of critical thinking for children is to support their logical development. Instead of simply stating, “Yes, this is the right answer,” a critical thinker will pose the appropriate queries. They will analyze events, considering all available options as well as their causes.

How To Teach A Child Critical Thinking

Even though it can be challenging to teach critical thinking in particular subject areas, there are things parents can do to support their children in developing a positive attitude towards critical thinking and the desire to seek out more in-depth subject knowledge to solve problems creatively.

Set an example for others

The best approach to teaching your children a crucial life skill is sometimes to live it yourself as an example. After all, children frequently imitate their parents’ actions. Ensure that you are setting an example for others by studying claims that seem incorrect and opposing claims that look immoral or unfair.

As critical thinkers themselves, parents can start teaching their children how to think critically from the very beginning by verbalising their thought processes, according to Dr. Pickerill. “It’s helpful for youngsters to observe the way parents critically examine things through. Children can observe their parents’ thought processes thanks to this critical thinking modelling, and as a result, they can imitate what they have seen.”

Teach them Problem-Solving Skills

Teaching children to solve issues, according to Morin, is one approach to instil critical thinking in them. For instance, she advises asking kids to come up with at least five distinct solutions to a certain problem.

She suggests that you push them to carry an object across the room without using their hands. They might initially believe it to be impossible. However, with a little assistance from you, kids might realize there are numerous alternatives (such as using their toes or donning gloves). Help them come up with several ideas for the same problem, then choose one to test out.

Encourage the audience to inquire

You must urge your youngster to ask questions, despite how tiring it might occasionally be to field endless inquiries. The foundation of critical thinking is questioning, so spending time helping your child find the answers on their own or in collaboration with them will be worthwhile in the long run.

Along with improving their ability to express themselves, your child will also become increasingly adept at spotting incorrect or deceptive data or claims made by others. By letting your child watch you ask questions, you can teach them how to ask questions as well.

Exercise Making Decisions

Like everything else in life, your kid will frequently gain knowledge by making mistakes. Making decisions is an element of developing critical thinking skills. Giving your child a say in how they would like to allocate their time is one approach to get them wondering about and making decisions.

If they choose, give them the option of declining playdates or party invitations. Additionally, you may offer them an allowance and let them decide how to spend the money. Either of these situations calls for your child to carefully consider their options and any potential repercussions before making a choice. Talk with them regarding how to handle problems like harassment and peer pressure when they get older. and instruct them on how to utilize social media healthily. Your youngster must exercise critical thinking in each of these circumstances.

Encourage an open mind

Even though it occasionally can be a difficult topic to teach, open-mindedness is a crucial one. The capacity for objectivity and impartial idea evaluation is a necessary component of developing critical thinking skills.

Teach your children to set aside their preconceived notions and judgements to view things with an open mind. Diversity, inclusivity, and fairness are a few ideas you should bring up to promote an open mind.

Final Thoughts

One of those crucial life lessons you can teach your children is how to think critically. In reality, students require these talents to grow and survive in the information-rich world of today. These abilities will aid children in developing sound judgment, wholesome relationships, and self-awareness. Additionally, you are offering your children a skill that will benefit them intellectually, professionally, and interpersonally when you teach them to critically analyze the world around them. They will eventually not only have the capacity to think independently, but they will also develop into more competent adults.

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