How Can We Help Children Develop Critical Thinking?

1.Watch your child as he builds theories about how things work. Watch the children especially when they are playing. Observe what they are trying to understand during the games. For example, the behavior of opening and closing the door of kitchen cabinets or similar things, which is common in children who are just starting to get active. When you observe this behavior, what you will witness is that your child has developed a new theory about the opening and closing of doors, and he checks many things to see if they open and close in a similar way. Your child is busy making discoveries and logical chains about the workings of objects and thoughts that will become more and more abstract.

2. Support your child’s curiosity.

Children are born with the urge to know and understand. It is impossible not to see the interest and curiosity in their wide-open eyes as they look at the things they have experienced and witnessed. This impulse may be blunted or encouraged, depending on the inhibition or direction of the environment. The truth is to observe and support his interest and curiosity.

Instead of intervening immediately in the issues and works they are dealing with, keep them at a distance where they can seek support from you when they need it, and let them deal with it on their own. Thus, you will support their capacity to think freely and authentically and to approach critically about objects and thoughts.

3. Try to provide accurate and valid information for your children.

Encourage children to ask questions, try to find the right answer to the questions they ask. If you don’t know, be honest about it and express that you can search for the answer to this question together. Children also learn by modelling. Therefore, the sincere and confident search of the parent in the face of a question that he does not know the answer to will provide a very instructive model for the child about how to access information.

4.Help your children reach out to others they can learn from. There are subjects that almost everyone knows well. Children observe this very well. For example, a child who knows his grandmother’s curiosity about the repair of furniture may often turn to his grandmother when his belongings break down. Observing that his father frequently makes observations and comments about the feelings of others, the child may see his father as a sentimentalist. The child, who is curious about the emotional experience of a friend and tries to understand, will probably try to get information about this situation from his father. With questions, games or otherwise. Every child has a different way of expressing himself. Therefore, it is important that you remember the suggestion in the first item. Thus, you can better observe how he tries to gather information from the person he thinks is an expert on a subject he is curious about.

5. Help children evaluate information from others.“How can you tell if that’s true?”

This question is very encouraging for your child to have a critical approach to the source and validity of the information. It is a developmental stage to realize that just as people do not know the answer to a question, they can be deceitful, knowingly or unknowingly. Children can learn this over time in parallel with their experiences and the development of their thinking skills. Here it is useful to remember the skill of “taking someone else’s point of view”.

Questioning whether the information that someone else has given us is correct, and if it is not, trying to understand why he did not provide us with the correct information requires the ability to evaluate the situation from someone else’s perspective.

6. Develop critical vision skills.

It is very important not only to allow the child to ask questions, but also to encourage them to ask questions. Today, digital content is one of the things that we are most exposed to and that children are also exposed to. For this reason, it is very important to encourage critical vision skills, especially when consuming digital content. About an ad you watched:

-What do you think he’s trying to sell in this ad?

What do advertisers want us to buy?

-Why do advertisers want us to buy it?

-Do you want to buy the product mentioned in the advertisement?

-Why might you want to buy?

-Do you think what this ad says is true?

Your daily conversations, enriched with questions like the ones above, support your child in developing the capacity to think critically and make choices beyond what is presented to him.

7. Use a problem-solving process in which you use critical thinking skills to solve the problems you face as a parent.

Have a problem-solving routine that you apply to your problems and dilemmas. In this routine, there should be steps such as taking distance to the problem, thinking about possible causes, setting a goal and testing these solutions by producing alternative solutions. You can read my post on the blog for a sample problem solving process and steps. Let’s not forget that children learn best by experiencing and modeling. Therefore, in his experience with you, he can internalize your critical approach to problems and problem solving over time, and he can become a good critical thinker and problem solver.

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