Critical thinking is all about identifying and analysing information, compared with existing knowledge, in order to understand connections between facts and ideas and come up with rational conclusions. While this sounds quite complex, it’s actually something we do each and every day when we make decisions or come up with solutions. With that said, it’s important for children to develop their critical thinking skills from a young age. I have teamed up with a private school in Buckinghamshire to share some advice on how parents can help their children with these skills.
If you ask your child a question or instruct them to complete a certain task, try not to rush them. Give them time to think about how they’d like to answer or proceed. Allow them to reflect on their response rather than rushing into a gut reaction. This will allow them to practise their critical thinking skills.
Ask your child questions like “what do you think will happen if…” or “what ideas do you have for…”. Doing so will encourage them to come up with different hypotheses, which is an important aspect of critical thinking.
Make sure your child knows that their opinion is valid. You might not necessarily agree with them, but don’t shut them down. Instead, talk about different viewpoints and help them understand that their way is not always the right way and vice versa. Being able to analyse information and form an opinion is a crucial element of critical thinking.
Give Them Space
Give your child the space they need to come to conclusions independently. If you are always there to provide them with the solutions, they will never learn how to do it on their own. Allow them to learn how to process and solve problems without any help so that they can become increasingly more confident in their abilities and learn from their mistakes.