As a child, the question “why” can sometimes be a tough one to answer. Children aren’t naturally programmed to analyze or think critically – this is a skill that can be taught and learned over time. Critical thinking will help guide your child when developing their beliefs and determining their actions.
According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking, there are eight Intellectual Standards that enable critical thinking: Clarity, Accuracy, Precision, Relevance, Depth, Breadth, Logic, and Fairness. Based on these tenants, we’ve come up with some tips to help take your child’s critical thinking to the next level:
Critical Thinking Tip 1
Ask your child to explain what they learned after completing their homework. Challenge them by asking them to express their learnings in various ways.
Critical Thinking Tip 2
Misinformation is wide-spread, so encourage accuracy by asking your child to verify whether a fact is right or wrong by giving them books to read about topics that you and your child enjoy and can discuss later.
Critical Thinking Tip 3
After reading a chapter of any book, have your child write down what that chapter was about and ask them to offer extra detail so that statements are specific.
Critical Thinking Tip 4
First, pick a topic of your choice. Ask your child to tell a story about that related topic and then evaluate the story’s relevancy. If irrelevant, further explain the topic and then ask your child to tell you another version of the story.
Critical Thinking Tip 5
This part deals with children’s answers to a given topic and whether or not it addresses all the complexities of the question at hand. If you ask your child a question about a more complex issue, help them identify all the significant factors the question poses and how to think about all of the different elements.
Critical Thinking Tip 6
Choose a topic that’s being discussed in the news. Ask your child to research it and offer context and background. The key is to have your child consider different viewpoints and analyze how the topic would be presented from these various points of views.
Critical Thinking Tip 7
Logic will help your child understand whether information presented is contradictory or true. Have your child break down their thinking by identifying a pattern in their thoughts and argue their stance on a given topic. Identify the combination of their thoughts as logical or contradictory and explain why their thinking is logical or not.
Critical Thinking Tip 8
Now it’s time for a movie. Choose a movie that you know offers different perspectives. Ask your child to draw conclusions from that movie but ensure they’re considering all the opinions presented.
By understanding how to think critically, your child will score higher grades and will add significant value in post-secondary school and when they later enter the workforce. No matter your child’s age, take it easy at first and ensure they grasp what each standard entails and how to identify whether they’re taking all of the various elements into consideration. As always, if you have some tips on critical thinking for kids, let us know in the comments section below!
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