Critical thinking refers to the ability to observe, imagine, analyze, reflect, experience and evaluate information. It involves thinking independently and formulating your own opinions irrespective of outside influence.
Critical thinking is a crucial life skill for children and is becoming increasingly essential in this fast-changing technological era. The skill encourages children to question facts and analyze information. Here are some ways in which critical thinking skills can be developed in children:
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- Encourage Free Play: Free play develops critical thinking by encouraging a child to evaluate the cause and effect of certain actions. They should be provided enough outdoor and indoor space to play uninhibited. This would give them a chance to explore the world around them and form a judgement without interference of an adult.
- Refrain From Intervening: It is tempting to intervene and help your child come up with an answer to something that is puzzling them. However, one should resist the urge to do so and let their child work towards developing their critical thinking abilities. So, next time your child is trying to figure out the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of a situation, pause for a few seconds before telling them the answer.
- Encourage Them To Ask Questions: Open ended questions are the best answers to your child’s questions. Instead of providing your children with an instant answer to their questions, help them think critically by asking questions and let your child predict the outcome of any problem at hand.
- Do Not Micromanage: If your child is stuck in a situation, let him try to figure out a possible solution of a problem by thinking on his own instead of managing the situation yourself. This will stimulate the formation of new neural connections in the brain and develop confidence in one’s capabilities.
- Use Puzzle Games: Puzzle games such as brainteasers, riddles, word games, math games and so on help in improving child’s critical thinking abilities. Ensure that your child indulges in such games whenever possible e.g. while waiting at a restaurant, while travelling, at a picnic etc.
- Role Playing: Role playing is believed to be one of the best ways of encouraging kids to think critically. Embodying the persona and characteristics of another puts a child’s analytical and creative mind at work.