Critical thinking involves examining assumptions and thought processes to determine if they’re valid or flawed. Critical thinkers ask questions like, “What evidence do we have?”, “How reliable is this evidence?”, “What other explanations might there be?”. They look at all sides of an issue and consider alternative viewpoints before concluding what they believe to be true or false based on the available information.
As a parent, you can help your child develop critical thinking skills. This means allowing them to explore different ways of thinking and embracing mistakes as part of the process. It also means providing open-ended questions that allow them to think critically about a topic or situation.
Here are 7 ways to develop your child’s critical thinking skills:
1. Teach Problem Solving Skills
• Encourage your child to practice breaking down problems.
• Explore solutions.
• Identify patterns.
2. Help Your Child Understand Their Thinking Process
As a parent, you can help your child understand the way that they think by encouraging them to identify logical connections and assumptions in different situations. For example, if you ask your child why they think it’s important to brush their teeth every day and they say, “Because it cleans our teeth,” ask them what would happen if we didn’t brush our teeth for a week. This way they can see that there are other factors at play besides the cleanliness of the mouth (e.g. bad breath).
3. Encourage Your Child to Ask Questions
Children are naturally curious, but they may not always be encouraged to act on their curiosity at home. You can help by creating an environment where questions are welcome and answered, even if the answers aren’t immediately available.
Encourage your child’s natural curiosity by asking them questions, such as “Why do you think this happened?” or “What do you think would happen if we did it this way instead?” This will encourage them to think critically about situations in their own lives and beyond – and help them develop their critical thinking skills!
4. Model Critical Thinking
Show your child that you value critical thinking by asking lots of questions, listening carefully, and then explaining why you came to a particular conclusion. If your child asks you for advice or help with a problem, take time to think through the situation before responding so you can provide useful feedback.
When we model critical thinking in everyday life, it’s important not only to demonstrate these skills ourselves, but also to talk about what we’re doing as we’re doing it: “I’m trying to decide between two different options right now” or “I’m thinking about how this decision might affect other people” This kind of dialog helps children understand how they come to decisions themselves, and helps them learn how others come to their decisions, too!
5. Encourage Debate and Discussion
Providing your child with an environment where they can discuss their ideas is a great way to encourage critical thinking skills. Help your child learn to listen to others and express themselves in a safe space by encouraging discussion and debate at home.
6. Help Your Child Develop an Open Mind
• Teach your child to be open to other points of view.
• Challenge him or her to consider other points of view.
• Encourage him to take risks, such as trying something new or stepping out of his comfort zone.
7. Teach Your Child to Reflect
Encourage your child to think about their decisions. When you’re helping your child make a decision, ask them what they think will happen and why. This will encourage them to reflect on their experiences and consider the consequences of their choices.
It’s also important to provide opportunities for self-reflection. If you notice that your child is struggling with something or could use some extra help, create an environment where they can reflect on what they’ve learned and how it applies in new situations by asking questions like: “What did you learn from this experience?”