Tips For Raising Critical Thinkers
Our world faces many challenges, and more challenges lie ahead. We need citizens who question the presented “facts,” ask critical and thoughtful questions of their leaders, and carefully consider how they make decisions that affect their lives and the lives of others. And leaders are needed. So the world desperately needs strong critical thinkers. Education is not only about acquiring information and skills in various fields, but also about understanding how and why we believe what we do. With online media literally flooding us with information and opinions, parents and teachers worry about how their students will interpret what they read and see. In this hustle and bustle, it becomes increasingly important to consider different perspectives with curiosity and insight. But how do parents teach these skills to their children? To figure this out let’s first understand what exactly is critical thinking.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking develops when children use their existing knowledge, experience, and problem-solving skills to: compare, contrast, visualize, explain, evaluate ideas and form opinions. The ability to do this helps us make sense of this information, and the ability to think critically is an integral part of opinion-forming, problem-solving, goal-setting, and decision-making. Critical thinking skills aren’t just used in English comprehension tests, they’re essential for all of us. It also helps children understand who are good friends and who are not.
Critical thinking enhances problem-solving skills. It is essentially about making rational, well-considered decisions. It makes children aware of the world’s problems and motivates them to participate in solutions from an early age. This skill gives children self-awareness and keeps delusions at bay. Critical thinking is one of the most important soft skills a child needs, regardless of what career they choose to pursue in the future.
Here are effective tips to raise critical thinkers
Create an environment of trust:
This has to be the foundation step in the upbringing of children. It is a simple but highly impactful act that parents can induce. Involving children in family decisions can help them ask authority figures (such as doctors and teachers) respectfully, even if they fear misleading questions. You can encourage them to ask questions which may seem silly. We listen carefully to their questions, stop what we are doing, participate in conversations, praise their curiosity and appreciate how hard they are thinking. Rather than just telling children their conclusions are wrong, you can ask them if they’ve considered alternative interpretations, or ask them what they were thinking when they came to their conclusions.
Encourage Independent thinking and Hypothesis
Encourage independent thinking by giving children the opportunity to make decisions and solve problems independently. Offer advice and support, but allow them to be accountable for their decisions. This promotes autonomy and helps develop critical thinking skills as you learn to weigh options, weigh outcomes, and make informed decisions. Forming hypotheses helps your child understand all the possible consequences of their decisions. This helps you develop the skills to think ahead and analyze possible outcomes before making informed decisions for yourself.
Expose your Child to Unexpected & Varied Experiences
A life of rigid rules and unwavering routines does not teach children to embrace change and deal with adversity. A variety of experiences gives your child the flexibility and confidence to think for themselves, even when things don’t go as planned. In order to help process these experiences, try to model critical thinking by introducing them to your own decisions so as not to overcomplicate things or talk so long that he gets distracted and stops listening. I try to model critical thinking by explaining to him how. We can also provide new experiences for children by doing what we can to encourage them to have different perspectives in our community and in their daily lives.
Expose your Child to different perspectives
Let your children be exposed to different perspectives, cultures and experiences. This exercise helps develop empathy and the ability to consider multiple perspectives, which are essential for critical thinking. Facilitate discussion and debate that challenges assumptions and expands horizons. Trying to understand other people’s perspectives on how to solve problems is an essential part of creative problem solving. Encourage them to understand how their opinions differ from others. Most importantly, everything we know about facts, data, research, personal experience, intuition is filtered by our interpretations. Interpretation is the result of identifying the performer’s current environment while at the same time taking into account the original intentions of the creator. Being a true critical thinker is the ability to change direction when new information comes to you, and the courage to change your mind. As an important adult in a child’s life, it is very valuable to show them that you have survived the period when you changed their minds, and to make them understand that it is safe for them to change their minds.
Encourage reflection and self-evaluation
Critical thinking includes reflection and self-evaluation. Encourage children to think about their own thoughts, actions, and problem-solving processes. Ask open-ended questions to encourage them to evaluate their decisions and consider alternative approaches. We help you develop a growth mindset of learning from your mistakes and continuously improving. Self-assessment provides children with an opportunity to self-evaluate, or make judgments about their learning process and develop personal skills.
Encourage curiosity and questions
Encourage children to ask questions and explore the world around them from an early age. Spark your child’s curiosity by providing opportunities to explore and participate in thought-provoking conversations. Developing curiosity lays the foundation for developing critical thinking skills. Curiosity is the driving force behind critical thinking. The first step in developing critical thinking skills is to encourage children to ask questions and seek answers. As parents, we can offer our children opportunities to explore new topics through books, videos, real-world experiences, and more. If your child asks a question, don’t answer “I don’t know”. Instead, encourage them to find the answers themselves. Not only will this help improve your research skills, but it will also teach you that it’s okay to not have all the answers.
Critical thinking involves challenging assumptions and preconceptions. Challenge children’s assumptions and encourage them to think critically about the world around them. For example, if your child says, “All politicians are corrupt,” ask them to provide evidence to support their claim. Doing so teaches them to think beyond their initial assumptions and critically evaluate information. Realize that critical thinking and the arguments that come with it can be emotionally draining. It is important to ask good questions and let children find the answers on their own, but sometimes children are too tired or overwhelmed to do so. We can observe our children, be sensitive to their emotions, and sometimes help find effective solutions at the time.
Children thrive when they are given the freedom to make choices, plan their time and create from scratch. This skill does not necessarily require a subject as it is focused on achieving goals and teaching children to think for themselves. In addition, it is important to establish a healthy dialogue between you and your learners, allowing room for discussion and allowing them to rely on you to clear their doubts during the learning process. Encourage your child’s ability to reflect on their thoughts and act accordingly, while also remembering that learning is a gradual process and requires patience and a gentle hand when circumstances are less than ideal. If you hit a hurdle along the way, it’s wise to take a break, not just for your child’s sake, but for yourself. Do activities that restore the children’s minds and yours, then slowly get back on the learning curve. Controlling, listening to, and responding appropriately to your child’s questions promotes independent thinking processes that are essential for the long-term development of critical thinking skills.