Critical thinking is the ability to think logically, objectively and analytically.
It helps us make the best decisions, evaluate situations and solve problems. Critical thinkers are also able to look at different sides of an issue, weigh up the evidence and use logic to reach conclusions.
If your child has little or no experience with critical thinking skills, you can teach them by using these easy steps:
Read a different kind of book to your child
Reading is one of the best ways to help your child develop critical thinking skills. When you read a book together, you are sharing an experience and exposing them to new ideas and perspectives.
Reading also has many other benefits for children including improving vocabulary and spelling, learning about different cultures, traditions and beliefs from around the world, as well as helping them develop their imagination so they can create their own stories later on in life.
Encourage your child to give their opinions
Don't tell them that there is only one way of looking at something or only one right answer in a situation.
This can discourage them from looking at things with an open mind, which is needed for critical thinking skills! Instead, ask questions like: "What do you think about this?" or "What are some possible explanations for this?"
These types of questions will encourage critical thinking without forcing any answers on your child and make them feel trapped into having certain beliefs just because someone else told him so (which happens all too often nowadays).
Get them to explain things
Get your child to explain how they solved a problem. This will help them learn how to break down problems into smaller parts and think critically about the steps needed to solve them.
Ask your child to explain how they built something, like a model or sculpture. It's important that they understand how things work so that when you ask them why something happened, they can give an answer beyond just "it did."
Ask your child why certain mathematical rules are true (e.g. for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction).
You could also get into more advanced topics like calculus by asking questions like: "If I move at 1 mph for 10 miles then 3 mph for 5 miles, what is my total speed?" If possible, try making up problems yourself and see if your kid can solve them!
Ask them "why?"
When you have an opinion on something, it's easy to get stuck in your own way of thinking. Your child might not know what other people think about the topic or why they feel that way.
The best way to help them learn critical thinking skills is by asking them questions that require them to explain their opinions.
Ask them why they believe something and how they came up with this conclusion. Try asking questions like: "Why do you think that?" or "How did you come up with this idea?"
If they are able to give examples or explain their reasoning then they are probably more open-minded than if they just say something like "because" or "I don't know".
Encourage them to argue both sides (of a case, an issue, etc).
The ability to argue both sides of an argument is a critical thinking skill that will serve you well throughout life. You may not agree with your child's position, but it's important that they know how to defend their own opinions.
Teach them how to do this by asking them questions about current events or issues in the news and then having them argue for both sides. This can help develop their critical thinking skills and encourage them not just to listen passively but actively engage with what they're hearing or reading.
Start teaching your child critical thinking skills today. It will be one of the best gifts you can give them.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on teaching your child critical thinking skills.
The most important thing is to be patient and not expect too much from them initially. You can't expect them to learn everything overnight!
If you keep trying different methods, then eventually they will start getting it. Once they begin grasping the concept of reasoning out situations logically instead of relying on emotions or instincts alone then they'll be able to make better decisions throughout their lives, which is something we all wish for our kids right?