Critical thinking is one of the many skills that children should learn because it’s essentially the ability to assess one’s knowledge and experiences versus the information at hand in order to come up with an informed decision, offer an opinion, or solve a problem. Children should be able to do more than simple repeat a list of facts; they need to be able to compare, make inferences and analyse. So, as a parent you might be wondering how you can help your child with their critical thinking skills. I have teamed up with a private school near London to share some advice.
Try Different Strategies
First of all, it’s worth noting that there’s not one unique strategy to teaching a child how to think critically as every child learns differently. For instance, one child might benefit from experimenting and investigating to come up with answers, while another might thrive when asked open-ended questions to steer their thinking process. Don’t stick to one technique; try lots of different strategies until you find something that you think works well for your child.
Promote Independent Thinking
It’s important to try and give your child some space to solve problems on their own. Don’t intervene immediately, even if you think they need your help, as this won’t help them learn how to analyse their own encounters and skills to come to a conclusion on their own. There will be times when you’re not around to help and they need to be equipped with the skills and confidence to work things out on their own.
You also need to give your child time to think! If you ask them a question, wait a minute or two for a response before you continue speaking. This gives them an opportunity to truly reflect on what they want to reply, rather than responding with their first gut reaction. If they don’t know the answers to your questions, encourage them to research using the computer or a book so that they can figure it out and learn how to find solutions independently.
Encourage Free Play
Especially where little ones are concerned, it’s crucial that children are given the chance to test how different things work and play freely. This will allow them to exercise their curiosity and discover cause and effect. For instance, if they try to balance their toys on top of one another and the pile topples over, they will know that it won’t work in the future. It’s important to allow them to be hands-on and figure things out on their own through play and exploration.