Helping Your Child Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is what allows us to analyse a situation, compare it to the knowledge we already have, and come up with a logical decision or opinion. It involves reasoning and being open to new concepts, as opposed to being a passive recipient of information. It’s crucial for children to develop critical thinking skills because it will enable them to come to conclusions independently, which will help them in personal situations but also academically. Parents can help their children develop critical thinking skills, using the following advice from a private school in Oxford.

Let Mistakes Happen

There will be times when you can see that your child has made the wrong choice, but try not to micromanage them. Allow them to make their own mistakes because this will help with their learning. If you are always there to save the day, they won’t learn how to solve problems on their own. Your child is just as capable as you, it’s just that they don’t have as much life experience. Allow them to develop that life experience. 

Take a step back and trust that your child will eventually get to where they need to be. Every time they have to solve problems on their own or come up with a decision without help, new connections will be formed in their brain. They will know not to do something again, because they’ll know it will lead to a negative consequence. If you don’t allow them to understand how certain behaviour leads to certain outcomes, they won’t know what to do when you’re not there to save the day. 

Ask Questions

Encourage your child to reflect on a situation by asking them questions:

  • Why do you think that happened?
  • Would you do anything differently next time?
  • What makes you say that?
  • What do you think about this?

This will help them determine how they arrived at a particular conclusion and whether or not they would avoid that same outcome in the future. They might tell you that they really want a new toy or video game. Ask them why they need it so desperately? If they say it’s because all their friends have it, ask them why they think it’s so popular? This will help them look at particular situations more critically in the future. Asking questions will allow them to take their thoughts one step further, as opposed to seeing everything at face value. 

Encourage Research

Children are relentless with their questions, which is great for their learning. If they ask you something, encourage them to look it up online. If they want to go to the cinema, encourage them to look online at the timings for the films and how much it will cost. Researching like this will encourage your child to delve deeper and look beyond the surface level.

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