Learning to think critically is perhaps one of the most important skills children need for the future. In today’s rapidly changing world, children need to be able to do more than simply repeat or recall information.

Children must learn to think critically so that they can understand information, analyze, compare, differentiate, make conclusions, and finally have critical thinking skills.

There are really no strategies that can support and teach children how to think critically. Still, as parents, we can play a role in supporting children’s critical thinking by asking open-ended questions to guide their thinking processes.

Another thing we might try to do too is let your child experiment and refine their theories of what causes things to happen. Guiding your child’s critical thinking process can have a positive impact on problem-solving skills.

Here are some ideas you can do to help children build a foundation for critical thinking:

Give Open Questions

Have you ever read books to your children? If so, there is a good chance that you may have asked an understanding question. But is the question a yes or no question? Do they need more than one word of response? Every question that can be answered in one word is without honing thought is a closed question.

This type of question can check the child’s understanding of the information they get but does not help in developing critical thinking. Therefore, it is important for you to ask open-ended questions, which make children think more.

In the writer’s experience as a teacher, when children already understand a material, usually the teacher will ask questions to check their understanding of the material they have been learned. For example, when studying planets. After learning that humans live n planet earth, the teacher can ask questions such as: “Is it possible if we move to another planet?” “Do other planets have a life?”.

Questions like this will maximize the child’s thinking process so that they do not only take information, but also process, identify, and summarize the information they get. Give your child time to process the information when asking them open questions. Be patient while waiting for their answers.

If they have difficulty answering your questions, you can guide them with directions to guide them to correct and critical thinking.

Give Opportunity to Play

Learning can take place not only when studying at school or at home while doing assignments. Playing also plays an important role for children to develop critical thinking. While playing, children will explore the world around them and produce cause and effect statements. For example, a question like “How can I balance all of these blocks to keep them standing?” or “What happens when I pour oil in the water?”.

By providing time for children to play either outdoors or indoors, you provide an open opportunity for them to try something and observe it. Direct experiences provide them a foundation for future critical thinking.

Create an atmosphere for children not to be afraid of making mistakes

Teaching critical thinking is important, but the barrier children often feel in critical thinking is their fear of joining in discussions and sharing their opinions. Often, children are reluctant to share their ideas at home or school because they are afraid of how they will be judged if their answers are wrong.

Conversely, to develop critical thinking skills, children should not be afraid when mistakes occur. Therefore, it is important for you to create a family environment that is interactive and full of discussion in which children feel free to think deeply without fear of being laughed at or making mistakes.

Tell children that sometimes it is okay to make mistakes and that no one is always right. Tell the importance of a life that humans learn the most through mistakes that have ever occurred in life.

Make sure you also have a strong relationship with your children so that they believe that you care about them so that they are willing to take risks, such as giving ideas and answers voluntarily, even if they may make mistakes.

Help Children to Build Strategy

It is important for parents not to always interfere with their child’s duties and responsibilities. Parents who help children with homework or organize do not help children practice critical thinking when they encounter problems. In the end, they tend to have difficulty finding solutions to the problems they face.

Even though it may seem difficult for your child, avoid completing or doing tasks for them. You can do other things that are supportive but still emphasize the development of your child. You can ask your child what they think would be a good solution when they find a problem.

If a child is still having trouble, you can help in guiding them to answer, but not giving direct answers. Just help them think by questioning things that help children think about the problems they find.

May 10, 2021

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Parents need to regulate their children’s parenting patterns by adjusting to the current digital era to suit the demands of the times. This article will help you as a parent to equip yourself to face the digital era for your parenting.
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