You are doing the best job you can in raising your children to become well-rounded adults. You love and support them unconditionally, and give them the world’s greatest toys and nicest clothing. But is that enough? Beyond the basic needs, there are a number of ways you can teach your kids critical thinking skills and make them well-equipped for life’s challenges.
Role play with them
Role playing is a great way to teach kids how to think critically. You can use simple scenarios like “I’m the parent and you’re my child” or “We’re in a restaurant and we have to decide what we want to eat.” Then, ask them what they would do in the given situation. You can also make things more complex by adding in multiple characters and offering different perspectives on the same scenario. Make sure you give them time to respond before moving on with your next question so they have time to think through their answer carefully and come up with an appropriate solution.
Ask them questions about real-life situations. Kids learn best when they’re interested in the subject matter — so ask them questions about things that interest them: movies, sports teams, celebrities and so on. Ask them who their favorite superhero is and why it’s cool (or not cool) that he wears glasses instead of contacts.
Ask your kids questions that don’t have a right or wrong answer
A lot of the time, we ask kids questions and give them answers before they have time to think about it. This can be frustrating for kids and prevent them from developing their own opinion or ideas. Instead, try asking open-ended questions, such as “What do you think?” or “What’s another way we could do this?” You might even find out something new about your kid in the process!
Show them by example. The best way to teach critical thinking skills is by modeling them yourself! When you’re faced with an issue or problem, sit down with your child and talk through what happened and what could have been done differently (or better). Try not to come up with solutions for them — let them figure it out on their own so they can develop these skills themselves!
Ask them to explain why they disagree with you
If your child believes something different than you do, don’t shut down their opinion right away just because it doesn’t match yours. Instead, encourage them to explain why they believe what they believe and how they came to this conclusion on their own. This will help them identify facts from opinions and learn how to form their own opinions based on evidence rather than just going along with whatever everyone else says just because it sounds good at the time.
The best way to teach critical thinking skills is to put them in a situation where they are forced to think for themselves
The best way to teach critical thinking skills is to put them in a situation where they are forced to think for themselves. Children with experience in critical thinking will be able to analyze situations and make their own judgments about what is going on around them.
The following are some examples of activities that can help your child develop these skills:
Ask your child questions about what he or she sees, hears, or feels. This will require him or her to use critical thinking skills to determine the cause and effect of events around them.
Have your child read books and then ask him or her questions about what happened in the story. This will get him or her thinking about the complexity of stories and how they relate to real life situations. For example, you might ask your child why a character did something and what happened as a result of their actions.
Have your child create something new by combining different items together into one object that helps solve an everyday problem (for example, creating a snack holder out of empty soda cans). This will encourage him or her to think outside the box when solving problems in real life.