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How to encourage critical thinking in children?

Encourage critical thinking in children

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Children’s learning should not consist of the simple memorization of certain key data, or formulas if we talk about subjects related to science. Every parent wants their little one to go much further and process everything learned at school and in extracurricular activities well so that education can really be used and serve as a tool to live better and make good decisions. For this reason, it is very important to develop critical thinking in children.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking consists of a mental process with which we can better order knowledge, ideas and concepts of what we are seeing and learning. This type of thinking serves to analyse reality in a more objective way, without letting ourselves be carried away by prejudices or by ideas designated by society as absolute truths. We are talking about thinking with one’s own, autonomous criteria so that a person reaches, on their own, a satisfactory opinion or conclusion on a subject.

A person with critical thinking always seeks the truth in a mature, ethical and correct way. To do this, he seeks to gather evidence, find out, and issue a fair opinion, which is not only based on his personal appreciation. In this way, he will always seek to get away from lies and easy answers that have no basis.

Why is it important to encourage critical thinking in children?

For the upbringing of their children, many parents find education convenient through the imposition of rules and concepts based only on their authority, believing that with this, their children will have better discipline and respect for the elderly. However, although it may be a bit more complex, and requires more patience, raising them while instilling critical thinking in them can bring many benefits in the short, medium and long term.

They will better process what you learn

You won’t learn facts and formulas just because that’s what you’re told or because that’s what “works.” Children with critical thinking have a greater curiosity and interest in understanding the roots of certain phenomena, physical laws, and historical facts, among many other things they learn at school. In this way, they appreciate what they have learned much more and retain it better for life.

They will make better decisions

Critical thinking will help your child to be able to make, from an early age, decisions based on his own criteria, autonomously and without excessive dependence on her parents or teachers. It is true that he is a child, and, obviously, he can also make wrong decisions in simple things of his day to day, but it is better to learn by trial and error than by telling him exactly what to do.

You will have greater criteria to differentiate the good and the bad

Critical thinking is directly related to values ​​and morals. Beyond knowledge, it is also important that they understand the reason for certain rules at home, at school, or in society in general. When a child fully understands why a certain action is right or wrong, he forms a much stronger value system for himself.

You will be better able to face the world

Critical thinking is about constantly reflecting on what we see in the world and what we will do about it. When this criterion is well formed from an early age, the child or adolescent is better prepared to face life and any adversity that comes their way.

Activities to promote critical thinking in children

Knowing the importance of promoting critical thinking in children, Aark Learnings recommend some activities with which you can strengthen this quality within their upbringing.

Programming courses for children

Few activities reinforce analysis and critical thinking as much as programming for children. Through it, your child will develop their ability to understand and execute actions to create applications, games, web pages, and many other things within technology. Furthermore, this skill will allow you to develop not only your critical thinking but also your computational thinking and other very important tech skills for your future.

Solve mathematical problems

Mathematical exercises offer one of the most classic ways to develop children’s critical thinking. Operations, formulas, and solving exercises help to understand, step by step, how more tangible and exact problems are solved. With well-worked logical-mathematical thinking, we can then move on to focus our critical thinking on slightly more abstract issues.

Ask them their opinion on certain news

Many times, parents underestimate the understanding that our children can have about what is happening in the world. We think that he is only interested in matters at school, at home and in his circle of friends, but our little ones can surprise us with what they understand about the situation and what is happening outside of their personal lives. 

In this sense, a good way to share with them and reinforce their critical thinking is to ask them what they think about the news of the day, listen to them and answer any questions or curiosity they may have.

STEM Games

The acronym STEM refers to these words in English: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In this sense, STEM games and toys seek to go beyond entertainment and promote children’s interest in science and technology through different challenges.

Riddles, riddles and trick questions

Programming and math develop our critical thinking for more exact problems, but activities like brain teasers, riddles, and trick questions will help your child to take that skill to fields more related to letters and logic.

Create sequences

Arming sequences can stimulate children’s critical thinking at the different levels of difficulty that these exercises can have. To solve a sequence, your child must analyze and discard different patterns until they reach the correct one. The sequences also help, in an analogous way, to reinforce skills such as computational thinking.

Invite reflection on stories and movies

Even in entertainment, your child can find topics to continue developing their critical reflections. We can motivate them to analyse the movies and series they watch or even the plots of their video games. Processing the plot of these stories or the motivations of the characters can also be a very good exercise.

Tips to develop critical thinking in children

After learning about the recommended activities, it’s time to talk about how parents can instil critical thinking through the interactions we have with our little ones.

Help them understand

Let’s make an extra effort not to give only short answers to your questions. Let’s take advantage of that curiosity to go further and explain the root of certain issues or phenomena. And if you ask about something we don’t know, we can look it up together!

Guide them towards reflection

Critical thinking is almost a way of living in itself. It can be applied to absolutely all the activities that our children have, to all the games they play and the productions with which they entertain themselves. You have to motivate them to always be curious! Don’t settle for simple answers, and worry about finding out more about any questions you have.

Let them express themselves

One very good thing about childhood is how little fear or shame we feel of saying the wrong thing. When a subject interests us, we simply speak and say what we can process at that age. That’s positive! 

For this reason, always allow your daughter to express herself freely, and after that, we can explain to her in a good manner if she was wrong about something, without reproaching her and congratulating her for showing interest in a subject.

Encourage logical argumentation

When your daughter has a question, as much as possible, let’s motivate her to come up with the answer on her own, with her own reasoning based on what she knows. If your question has to do with something you don’t know, we can answer it directly or motivate you to investigate, but it is always important that you have the initiative and the reflex to try to solve it, first, with logical thinking.

Now you know how to promote critical thinking in your children! Their future is written with code, and you have to help them find their way!