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Critical thinking is the ability to make rational decisions by understanding logical connections between ideas. It’s important for children to develop this skill because it’s key for their independence and ability to overcome obstacles, form opinions, and make sensible choices. Parents can help their children develop critical thinking skills using the following tips from a boys’ school in London

boy lying on a blanket

Ask Open-Ended Questions

These are questions that require more than a quick yes or no answer, which is great for encouraging your child to think about things on a deeper level and consider various possibilities.

If they express an idea or opinion, ask them how they came to that conclusion or what makes them feel that way. Suggest alternative viewpoints so that your child learns to consider other ideas and compare them with the information they already have.

Try and come up with conversation starters that tap into your child’s mind and get them thinking.

Encourage Healthy Discussions

Of course, no parent wants their family to be at each other’s throats all the time, but there’s nothing wrong with a healthy debate from time to time.

It’s a chance for your child to form logical opinions and get their point across in a coherent manner, without disrespecting the opinions of others. It will teach them that listening to others is just as important as speaking, which is crucial for critical thinking.

Discuss Implications of Certain Actions

Critical thinking is all about being able to come up with sensible conclusions, and this often involves considering the outcome. So, ask your child what they think and what happens if they did X, Y, or Z.

It’s good to practise this when reading a book or watching TV; pause for a moment and ask your child if they can think of what might happen next based on the characters’ choices. 

Teach Your Child to Research and Fact Check

One element of critical thinking is the ability to determine whether something is accurate or not. One way to determine this is to fact check by carrying out research.

Your child will find it difficult to come up with rational conclusions if the information they have is incorrect. As they become better at thinking critically, they will be able to decide whether or not it’s okay to be uncertain, or if information needs to be verified. 

These are just a few suggestions to get you started, but you should also bear in mind that your own ability to think critically will help influence your child. With that said, try and be a good role model and evaluate your own critical thinking. 

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