Every day children are flooded with images, messages and information. Irrespective of whether they are chatting with friends, at school or online, they need to know how to evaluate what they are hearing and seeing in order to form their own opinions and beliefs. Critical thinking skills are the foundation of education and all life skill development. Without the ability to think critically, children will struggle academically, especially as they get older.
Critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity are attributes kids need to possess today to succeed in the jobs of the near future. It’s not enough for an employee to just complete a task. Businesses of the future will need employees who can think and are creative. If you want your child to succeed, he or she will have to develop their critical thinking skills in order to prosper.
In fact, no matter what your child plans to do professionally someday, they will need to know how to think critically, solve problems, and make decisions. All parents, being primary educators, need to know how to teach kids critical thinking skills that ensure that children can think for themselves and develop a healthy critical mindset before they go out alone into the world.
Doing so will help them succeed both academically and professionally as well as benefit their future relationships. Here is what you need to know about critical thinking, including how to teach your kids to be critical thinkers.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking skills are the ability to imagine, analyze, and evaluate information in order to determine its integrity and validity, such as what is factual and what isn’t. These skills help people form opinions and ideas as well as help them know who is being a good friend and who isn’t.
Critical thinking also can involve taking a complex problem and developing clear solutions.
In our rapidly advancing and evolving technological world, more information is available at the click of a mouse, so critical thinking skills are a must today.
We are bombarded with information each day, some of it is accurate and some are not, and it can be very easy to get pulled into believing something that is really propaganda or fiction.
Social media is a great place to see how few people employ critical thinking skills.
How many times have you encountered statements made as fact when they are opinion or poorly researched information, or memes offering some far-fetched offer or stating you could win money for sharing. This happens all the time.
Teaching our children to question facts and research questionable statements presented as facts, is imperative today.
Unfortunately many schools do not encourage kids to take a critical mindset and question facts.
There are a lot of kids in a classroom and there is a set list of activities to get through in a day,teachers do not have the time to allow kids to question and challenge each fact. Even at home I sometimes struggle with my kids continually challenging and asking questions. However, critical thinking is an increasingly necessary skill.
This is where we as parents need to step in and encourage our kids. As much as it may be inconvenient when our children are continually challenging our authority and asking questions, we need to work through their questions and allow them to exercise their critical thinking skills.
As parents, we need to encourage our kids to ask questions, analyze information, and develop the necessary skills to recognize facts from lies and fabrication.
By asking the right questions, they can filter through all the propaganda and get to the truth.
The critical thinking skills required to know when not to believe emails or phone scams claiming to be something urgent or essential or fictional social media claims is critical to protecting yourself and requires critical thinking skills.
As parents, we need to teach our kids how to examine facts. Listen and look for claims that just don’t make sense. Teach your child to trust their instincts, to look for weaknesses and inconsistencies in statements.
Encourage Kids To Ask Questions
Parents and teachers should foster curiosity in children. If a rationale doesn’t make sense to a child, he should be encouraged to voice his concerns.
As exhausting as it can be at times to answer a constant barrage of questions, it’s important that you encourage your child to question things. Asking questions is the basis of critical thinking and the time you invest in answering your child’s questions, or finding the answers together, will pay off in the end.
Allowing your child to ask and answer questions about what they have read is a great way to help prepare them to think actively as they read. It also helps focus their attention on what they are learning. Asking questions shows that they understand what they have read and interpreted. It also gives them the ability to demonstrate their critical thinking skills.
Ask Your Child To Consider Alternate Solutions
It’s nice to get the right answer. But many problems can have more than one solution. When kids consider multiple solutions, they may become more flexible thinkers.
Although teaching open-mindedness can be a challenging concept to teach at times, it is an important one. Part of becoming a critical thinker is the ability to be objective and evaluate ideas without bias.
Teach your kids that in order to look at things with an open mind, they need to ignore their own judgments and assumptions. Some concepts you should be talking about that encourage open-mindedness include diversity, inclusiveness, and fairness.
Be A Good Role Model
Sometimes the best way to teach your kids an important life skill is to model it on your own life. After all, kids tend to copy the behaviors they see in their parents. Be sure you are modeling critical thinking in your own life by researching things that sound untrue and challenging statements that seem unethical or unfair. We as parents should be verbalizing our thinking skills in the presence of our kids. It would be good for our kids to hear how we critically think things through. Our kids can observe our thought process and imitate what they observed.
As your kids get older, you can play board games together or simply spend time talking about something of interest to them. The key is that you are spending quality time together that allows you the opportunity to discuss things on a deeper level and to examine issues critically.
Practice Making Choices
Part of learning to be a critical thinker involves making decisions. One way that you can get your child thinking about and making choices is to let them suggest how they want to spend their time.
Allow them to say no to play dates or party invitations if they so choose while asking them the reason for their choices. You also can give them an allowance and allow them to make some choices about what to do with the money. These scenarios require your child to think critically about their choices and the potential consequences before they make a decision.
As they get older, talk to them about how to deal with issues like bullying and peer pressure. Advise them on how to make healthy choices regarding social media use. All of these situations require critical thinking on your child’s part.
Read some riddles to your kids and practice solving them together. This teaches your children to analyze information.
Get Kids To Write
The process of writing helps students clarify their explanations and sharpen their arguments.
Read The Paper Together
Pick out a few articles in the local paper and read them together. Have your child look for hints or clues to see if the article is trying to sell them something. Double-check facts together to show them how to use analysis and critical thinking skills.
Connecting The Dots
Your child needs to have the ability to make connections when reading. By working with them, asking questions allows them to practice their critical thinking skills. It also lets them figure out how one paragraph can relate to another. The practice of these skills can help them predict how a story might end. This instills the ability to size up a situation and make a critical analysis of potential outcomes.
Developing a critical mindset is becoming one of the most essential skills for success in our technology and information-overloaded world.
By instilling critical thinking skills early in life, you are teaching your kids how to analyze the world around them better preparing them to think for themselves and make better choices.