By definition, critical thinking is a process of active analyzing, evaluating, and applying information that helps one make decisions. The brain begins to develop thinking skills as early as after birth. Don’t believe it? Infants learn and realize smiling draws positive attention to their surrounding peers, while crying attention that they need assistance! As children grow old, so do their logical thinking skills. They collect information from their surroundings and utilize the information to make appropriate decisions. Although children can build these skills solely based on their environments, there are many ways parents can help toddlers to further build, encourage, and promote independent and critical thinking!
1. Ask questions
“Yes and No” questions are great as surface level questions. To further encourage critical thinking skills, go beyond the surface and ask questions that require more thoughtful answers. Instead of asking them “what” questions, start asking the “why” questions instead and you’ll be surprise to hear how children develop reasoning to justify their answers.
2. Allow them to disagree
Say something outrageous that your child must disagree and argue with you! This can help them learn to find errors in others’ reasoning and use their own logical thinking to develop more appropriate and suitable statements in their mind.
3. Encourage independence
When your child encounters a “problem”, such as building blocks not stacking or toys not moving properly, it may be best to sit back and give them time to explore options to work out the problem by themselves. Children are just like adults; we constantly experience challenges and are motivated to find solutions that help promote problem-solving skills.