How Do You Teach A Child How To Think, Not What To Think?

picture of a kids from diverse background lying on a floor to create a circle shape.
(Last Updated On: 09/05/2021)

Do you value the creative expression of your child?

Do you want to encourage their unique abilities?

Do you want your kid to transform into a robot with all information but no insight?

This is a question only you can answer.

As parents we sometimes don’t understand the difference between these two different cognitive actions. Hence, we don’t actively teach our kids how to think rather than what to think.

We have been strong advocates of instilling critical thinking among kids from an early age. Therefore, we have come up with a set of activities and measures parents can use for guiding their kids on how to use their mind, intelligence, and thought process.

Always Get Their Input For Everyday Stuff

Many of us don’t consider small kids as thinking beings; it is not something we even dwell on. However, if we pay close attention to the way we interact with kids, we would conclude that we usually don’t consider what kids think. However, it’s not the fault of any individual parent to feel this way. These have been our society’s norm for a long time.

Nonetheless, it would help if you worked proactively on changing that behavioural tendency. The best thing you can do to prompt that change is to make your children part of your everyday decision-making. From getting their suggestions on furniture settings to asking them about their thoughts on the new house help, you need to get kids’ opinions on everyday stuff.

When kids have to come up with something they haven’t been taught earlier, they will naturally start learning how to think and make an opinion. It is an intuitive exercise that will gradually help you teach your kids how to think instead of what to think.

Broaden Their Horizon Beyond The Curriculum Books

Nothing works like reading for a young mind. Reading expands our imagination and compels us to think. Reading has always been a part of every well-thought-out learning program for children. However, the ongoing prevalence of technology has affected the reading habit of children and adults alike.

Kids are more interested in handheld gadgets and the apps they can use on those gadgets. They might also consume some valuable content on those devices. But it still doesn’t come close to the effectiveness of reading. If you want your child to think freely without developing a tunnel vision later on in life, you need to ensure they read books besides the ones that are part of their curriculum.

If you find getting your child to read a conventional hard copy book difficult, switch to Kindle. You can also use audio and video books in the beginning to develop their interest in literature and reading.

Expand Their Observational Landscape

We would be living in a different world had our ancestors not leveraged their observational instinct. Observation often serves as the cue for thought and opinion. Many inventions and scientific theories are rooted in mere observations. In short, observation helps us with novel and fresh thinking.

However, it is always tricky for parents to provide good observational room for kids. Apart from showing them child-friendly documentaries that elicit questions and queries, it would be best if you took them on outdoor trips more often. From museums to mountains and beaches to the countryside, travel with your kids to places they haven’t been before. It will expand their observational landscape and naturally teach them how to think.

Don’t Ever Shoot Down Their Questions.

Many kids have a curious nature. They tend to ask too many questions, and many times a lot of those questions don’t make any sense. This onslaught of questions often tests the patience of parents. If your child belongs to that curious lot, you need to take their curiosity as a positive sign. It is often the curiosity that gives birth to the original thought.

If your child asks too many questions, don’t get annoyed. Think of it as an exercise that helps them with how to think. Many times kids might ask you questions that you are not expecting from them. So, don’t manipulate them, or give wrong answers or sweep their question under the rug if you don’t have the answer at the moment.

Always be honest and tell them you will answer their question after studying and researching the subject. Also, don’t get riled up on the questions you think are not appropriate for their age. Gently ask them why/how they have come up with that question and try to answer it the way they can easily understand it.

Never Ignore Them When They Are Confused.

Do you see your child getting confused more often? If so, don’t just ignore it because you know it’s nothing serious. Kids often get confused and bewildered when they can’t seem to comprehend a situation or a thought. When you see your kids confused and restless, ask them about it and help them in untying the knot in their minds.

Encourage Their Artistic Sensibilities

Like science, art also plays an essential role in teaching kids how to think and what not to think. If you have identified any artistic streak in your child, encourage it for full bloom. Whether it is music, painting, poem, or story writing, you need to promote it because there is no better way to learn how to think than creating art.

Homeschooling— A Perfect Place to Teach Your Kids How To Think

If you are unsatisfied with the current public education system or would like to supplement your child’s learning outside of school, consider homeschooling. There are good home education resources that can help put your child on the track of how to think rather than what to think. For any guidance or teaching resources for your homeschooling activity, feel free to contact the Home Education Shop. We provide digital information and resources for parents or guardians who are either home educators or are thinking of educating their children at home.

Thought of the day, from Jasmine Ofori (Home Education Shop)

“Think Different, Empower & Educate”.