Teaching critical thinking does not mean you have to turn your child cynical or make them think or act like grown ups. What it means is that with critical thinking abilities, your child will be able to learn, grow and navigate themselves through life, and will be able to process their experiences and develop their own voice and sense of judgment.
Of course, for a child, these qualities will come in handy for their personal experience – whether at games and sport; academics; or other routine activities like learning to buy groceries or making a new friend. As your child grows, these skills and the capability to analyse situations critically will help your kid to deal with more complex hurdles of life.
Now the good part is that teaching the ability to tackle tricky situations can actually be taught very easily, and even indirectly by following these practices in your child’s day to day routine. Here’s what you need to do:
Ask open-ended questions
A great way to develop your kid’s thinking abilities is to help them reach for answers, instead of directly answering their questions. This way, your child will know not just the answer to their doubts but will also be able to figure out how to reach that answer themselves, with your helpful nudges here and there.
Now they may not be able to think by themselves or give incorrect answers. Respect their responses with replies such as, “That’s interesting. Tell me why you think that.”
Teach them hypotheses
Creating “If this…then what” situations with your child can become an interesting game in which you give each other hypothetical situations and see how the other person responds. The responses can be hilarious, logical or clever. It can turn out to be a fun exercise which will broaden their mind and use their imagination.
Ensure they get playtime
Your kid will love this step as playtime is a perfect opportunity to hit the ground and naturally improve your thinking skills while having fun and getting some good movement. Real learning happens with experiences and not by sitting and just thinking. Make sure your kid gets their daily playtime and explore a variety of games that come with their own unique fun and skills to learn.
Develop reading habit
If your child falls in love with storybooks then they will be able to learn so much that will develop their minds and their abilities to analyse, interpret and understand all kinds of situations and scenarios. Books will offer them a window to both the real and fictional worlds and the idea of characters and personalities. It will develop their IQ and EQ (intelligence quotient and emotional intelligence).
Unleash your kid’s curiosity by encouraging them to ask questions and appreciating them whenever they do so. If your child asks questions about anything under the sun, it means they are thinking by themselves, which will also polish their problem-solving abilities. Along with answering their questions, use it as an opportunity to make them learn something new everyday.
Start small and teach your child to become responsible and independent by assigning them things to do such as folding their blanket after use, taking their dirty dishes to the sink or keeping their clothes in the wardrobe. Developing these habits to take responsibility for their own things will make them smarter. Then you can also give them small tasks involving others, such as taking care of their pet or a younger sibling. This will ensure that your child learns and grows better and uses their mind for good instead of depending on their parents or elders all the time.