Every parent wishes the best for their child. More than anything, any parent wants their child to succeed in everything they do, right? There is no disputing the fact that education plays a very important role in training the child for their future. But as parents there are several things that you can do that could help them. Critical thinking is one of those things.
Critical thinking put in simple words, is the ability to analyze the facts to form a judgment. There are several definitions on the internet as the subject, in itself, is quite complex. Why teach critical thinking to your child? Well, for one, it will help them make the right decision. They learn to understand the repercussions, good or bad, of the same, and acquire problem-solving skills. For children to have a flexible mind and eagerly absorb new information, parents need to develop their critical thinking.
Children, by nature, are curious about everything around them. Hence, inculcating critical thinking in them at that age will help them make decisions for themselves. You could start off with simple day-to-day decisions, for example, whether they want to read a storybook or watch their favorite cartoon show. It can’t be both. The child has to pick one while fully being aware that he will lose out on the other option. You ask your child if they are facing any problem while deciding and let them come up with all the possible solutions. Let them pick the solution. The process of critical thinking will involve successes and failures. but that’s how the child will learn.
Here are some ways that help your child in critical thinking
Let your child ask questions. In fact, encourage your child to ask questions about anything that draws their interest. Let them come up with a theory, or an answer, for the same. Questioning things around them or asking how something works will help them learn new things. Let them ask questions and come with solutions. Ask them to select the best option out all the solutions that they have come up with and why.
Don’t rush your child into making decisions or coming up with solutions. Remember, you want them to become a critical thinker and hence, it is best to allow them to take their time and weigh all the pros and cons before coming up with the answer. Taking time means the child is pondering over the decision they have made and whether it is the right one.
Don’t Interfere Immediately
Even if you think that your child has chosen the wrong option or is not going in the right direction, do not interfere immediately. Don’t help them in the process of thinking or making a decision.
Let them make the decision based on their evaluation and then ask them questions as to why and how did they come with that solution. Only after you have asked all the necessary questions, tell that their decision or choice would have certain repercussions and explain what and why.
Help Children Evaluate Information and Develop Hypotheses
Children absorb new information on a day-to-day basis. Not all information they get or hear is true, and we as adults are aware of that. Ask your child the source of information and why they think it is true or false and how it relates to what they already know. Teach them how to evaluate information and the importance of doing so to find out whether the information is true.
Similarly, forming hypotheses is going to help your child in critical thinking. Once they have selected an option, ask them questions like “What do you think will happen if we do this?” or
“Let’s envisage what will happen if we do this?”
Ask Open-Ended Questions
It is tempting to teach your children or help them out when they are confused or need help. However, to make them think critically, it is best to ask them open-ended questions. This will help them come up with further evaluation of their decisions. Questions like “why do you think that is the right choice?” or “what do you think will happen if we do that?” or “how would you solve this problem?” or “are there more ways we can do this?” and so on.
Promote Children’s Interest
The best way to make a child think critically is to promote their interest. When children are deeply vested in a topic, pursuit, or an object, they tend to start thinking about it in-depth. When it comes to something that interests them, they become more invested, engaged and willing to experiment. They want to learn more about it and explore into it to expand their knowledge and this brings in a lot of opportunities for critical thinking. Whether your child is interested in cars, plants, a certain cartoon character, or animals, let them follow their passion as that will help them learn more about the subject and instigate critical thinking in them.