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Incorporate Critical Thinking into Daily Experiences


21st Century Skills Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Expressive Language Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning Spatial Perception

Incorporate Critical Thinking into Daily Experiences

You may never know what results will come from your action. But if you do nothing there will be no result.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Parents want to continuously develop children's critical thinking skills so they can mature into confident, responsible adults who are comfortable handling a broad array of situations. Parents can help as they incorporate simple activities into daily conversations and routines.

How To Apply It!

  1. Apply Knowledge: Ask your child how he might solve real-life problems as they come up. If you need to fix the drain, ask him why he might think it is clogged or ways it might be fixed. Ask why she believes something is important, whether it is why a teacher is covering a specific topic or a current event. When reading together, ask your child to predict what will happen. There are endless ways to encourage your child to think through situations rather than simply trying to drill factual knowledge.
  2. Analyze a Situation: Encourage your child to identify motives or causes from everyday experiences. For example, I know it wasn't nice, but why do you think your friend acted that way? If your child has a question, encourage him to prepare meaningful questions and ask the family expert for the answer. Asking good questions is critical in analytical thinking.
  3. Evaluate a Situation or Product: When your child says she doesn't like something, ask her why. Encourage her to defend her point of view. Let her know there is nothing wrong with her opinion, but she should have a good rationale. When your child is upset with a product or incident, encourage him to write a letter to the editor of the local paper or email a complaint to the company. Teach your child to take a point of view and then back it up with evidence.
  4. Create Something: Always encourage your child's creativity, whether it is a painting, a piece of music, or a poem. Also encourage your child to create by building on the ideas of others. The greatest inventions are almost always a synthesis of older ideas to create something new. However, many bright children feel the idea needs to be uniquely and entirely their own to be worth doing. Teach your child the difference between copying someone and building off of the ideas of others to make something even better. Of course, it is also important to teach them how to give appropriate credit.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Finding ways to help children use and build on their knowledge in real life experiences allows them to make connections and think through problems in a meaningful way, which will increase understanding and retention of concepts.