Teaching Your Child Critical Thinking Skills

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Critical thinking refers to the objective analysis of information, facts, data etc in order to form a logical and informed opinion or decision. It’s a tricky concept for young children to understand because they are naïve and usually turn to their parents to find answers or solutions. However, parents should help their children develop critical thinking skills so that they are able to come to conclusions independently. Here are some tips from an independent school in London.

Give Your Child Some Space

As adults, we can spot potential risks and issues from a mile off, especially where our children are concerned. We can be tempted to swoop in and save the day but this won’t help our children learn how to solve problems on their own. Give your child some space and let them fail so that they can start to understand what works and what doesn’t. Failure isn’t something we should be afraid of; it allows us to move forward with the right knowledge to make better decisions next time.

Encourage Your Child to Reflect

Encourage your child to think about things on a deeper level rather than taking everything at face value by asking them to reflect on their decisions and behaviour. Why did they do what they did and what will the consequences be? What did they do right or wrong in a certain situation? Reflection will strengthen their understanding and give them the intelligence they need to either avoid or repeat the behaviour again in the future, based on the outcome.

Ask Your Child Questions

Use open-ended questions to further encourage deeper thinking and inspire your child’s imagination. Even if they don’t get the answer right, the process will encourage them to think critically by analysing the information they already have to help them come to a conclusion. 

Encourage Your Child to Research

If your child comes to you with questions of their own, don’t shrug them off with a short answer. Instead, say something like “That’s a fantastic question, why don’t we do some research together?”. Teaching them how to look something up in a book or on the internet will equip them with the skills they need to heighten their knowledge, putting them in a great position to make an informed decision or opinion. 

Allow Healthy Discussions

There’s nothing wrong with your child having their own opinions or engaging in a healthy debate, as long as they are respectful and can back up their thoughts with reasoning. So, if your child has a different viewpoint to you on a certain topic, don’t immediately shut them down or tell them they’re wrong. Instead, ask them why they feel the way they do.

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