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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Developing Your Child's Critical Thinking Skills

By Andrew Loh

Child educators and counselors of the day keep using a number of buzz-words and definitions to explain the basic concepts of critical thinking skills. Some of them use words like creative thinking to drive home the idea, while a number of others employ words like higher-order thinking or logical thinking to explain the topic. Whatever the ideas or definitions are, one thing is quite simple; your child needs to improve his or her thinking skills to derive maximum advantages or benefits of productive and result oriented learning. All parents want their children to grow and develop with an important skill like critical thinking that eventually helps them to achieve personal and professional success.

Critical thinking skills help your children in a number of ways like:

  • Proper and meaningful analysis of available information. Information can come to you in many forms and nature. Some bits of information could be very trivial and simple, while a number of others are highly complex and variable. Analyzing and evaluating these bits of information in a proper manner needs highly advanced critical thinking skills.

  • To take correct and right decisions. Right decisions are the stepping stones for your success, both personal and professional. Taking correct decisions will help your children save precious time and energy. Other benefit of taking timely decisions is the decisive edge obtained during studies, as well as carrying out any type of highly competitive jobs.

  • Become successful enough to create new and creative ideas, suggestions and opinions. Today's competitive world needs equally competitive and cutting edge thinking processes. A person who can create new and better ideas can become successful, when compared to others who are quite poor in their critical thinking skills.

  • Be successful in solving complex problems. Life is all about solving any type of emerging problems. Children who develop critical thinking skills are more adept at evaluating the innate complexities of problems, and later take proper actions to solve those problems.

  • Act with a rational mind. Stable and rational mind is the byproduct of critical thinking skills. Children who develop these skills are always very stable in their attitude, persona, mind and action.

  • Develop logical thinking process. This is perhaps the most important skill that your child can develop and master during an early age. Logical thinking process is essential in segregating the good from the bad and right from the wrong.

Critical thinking skills are necessary to live a productive life by challenging an ever competitive world. The main goal of teaching your children critical thinking is to help them become empowered to take the accurate sense of information, adapt to new and emerging situations and develop necessary skills to identify, and solve any type of problems. There is a deep relationship between critical thinking and ancient philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, who emphasized and believed in training minds and streamline brain functions to derive absolute and deeper truth.

Parents may express their doubts as to why their children need to develop these skills. Of all the skills, critical thinking skills are the ones that help their children in mastering their academic curriculum, as well as general study materials. In essence, thinking in your children is essentially motivated by asking critical questions. Asking the right type of questions will help your children clarify, solidify and crystallize basic thinking and logic.

Critical thinking also helps children to develop a sense of deep inquisitiveness and curiosity. It will also help them in asking the right and precise types of questions, critically examine critical problems, and later find and seek ways to solve complex problems on their own. In other words, critical thinking process assists your children in becoming independent and expressive in their basic persona. These skills will also help them in developing life-long ability to solve problems.

Here are some general tips and suggestions to help your children develop critical thinking skills:

Encourage your children to ask probing questions: Get to know what your children are thinking in their mind. Ask what they think about a particular situation or scenario. Develop active conversation with your child.

Unnecessary criticism can prove counter-productive: Low self-esteem in your children could be due to over-criticism. Unnecessary criticism may also make your children develop very poor self-image and self-confidence. Be supportive when you find your children doubtful or unsure of their abilities to carry out school work.

Your children's opinions are as important as yours: Just remember that your children are individuals with their own mental makeup. Respect their opinions and honor their intentions. Your children are not your mirror image! If you help and assist your children in expressing themselves and their opinions, you can have very confident individuals.

Create a nurturing environment: Love and respect your children, even when they are wrong in their ideas and expressions. Children like an environment or ambience where they are loved and respected.

Teaching critical thinking process is a two-way traffic. Your children need your full support and training, while you need their cooperation and learning attitude to help them achieve cherished goals. Once you make your children understand the importance of critical thinking, you can rest assured that you will have happiest children in the whole world.


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