Now how do we nurture this critical thinking process right from toddlers to preschoolers? It is simple - Just engage them in meaningful conversation. Here are some simple and powerful ways to develop a critical thinking mode in your kids by conversation.
- The Storytelling Method: Start with a story, and after you have finished you can launch the' why ?' questions. It would help your kid to think the sequence of the facts in the story and analyse the situations. You can also answer the inquiries directed.
- Ask your child to narrate the same Story. The narration of the story unfolds an amazing trail of a thinking process. Many times the child gives a different story. Do not interrupt when the child deviates from the original one. Your kid is probably assimilating the thoughts and their logic and understanding and articulating it. After the child finishes, you can ask " why you think so?" You will find your kid ready with their answers and logic behind it. The other day my daughter started with a story of a scary monster and the usual stuff. The monster had got killed in a unique way. By eating a spicy chicken and lot of fries which gave the monster a massive tummy ache. So the critical thinking process is clearly evident, and it was incredible that she could incorporate a fact appropriately in the story.
- By conversation with your kid, you can help them develop hypotheses with “If” and “Then”. You can ask simple questions "What do we think will happen if we do this?” "Let us predict what we believe will happen next." As we go for a walk in the park, I play thought provoking games with my daughter. It entertains her and simultaneously raises her critical thinking skills.
- Critical Thinking leads to language development: As the child starts to read it is imperative for them to understand what is the underlying meaning. In other words to ‘read between the lines’. This happens when we start a proper meaningful conversation with our kid at early stages. The child who talks a lot with their parents, caregivers, grandfathers and mothers are quick to grasp the meaning of the spoken words. So when they start reading the understanding of the language happens fast.
- Conversation helps in sharpening listening Skill: The listening skill of child is especially essential for critical thinking. The child will learn to listen carefully to the conversation and then start to analyse the situations or facts. Children, in general, are impatient and their focus shift rather fast. It is only by the conversation you will be able to hold up their focus and attention.
Thus the ability to critically think is a process which the child should be inducted into and then honed continually and gradually. This will help them to push into a higher level of thinking. Thus talking with your kid is an exercise of their young mind.