Teaching the Difference Between Critical and Non-Critical InformationFebruary 1, 2021
Guest post by Kath Denholm.
Do you ever have trouble getting through to your child? Have you ever thought that he ignores all the vital information but remembers the trivial stuff? You are not the only one! To focus on the crucial things, your kid needs to first understand the difference between critical and non-critical information! This is not an innate human ability and needs to be taught to an individual.
What Is Critical Information?
We live in an age, where we are bombarded with information. A lot of that information that we are exposed to is not important. Whether we listen to it or not, makes no major difference in our lives. However, some of the information is very critical. It needs to be heard, assimilated and usually requires an action.
My husband and I have worked with teenagers and many of them do not know the difference between critical and non-critical information. No one has ever taught them. It is not a skill that comes naturally to children and it needs to be taught to them from an early age.
The simplest way to teach a child the difference between critical and non-critical information is to gamify the process. It’s easy: list names of critical and non-critical pieces of information. Then, ask your kid which information he thinks is important and which information is not. Make this process fun. This will ensure that your kid will develop a habit of always listening out for the important information.
It is important that you provide your child with fun examples of information and ask him if he thinks they are critical and non-critical. For example:
- Important stuff: a teacher warning the class about an upcoming exam.
- Non-important stuff: dad informs you that he wants to scratch his bum (that’s right, don’t forget to throw in some toilet humor to keep a game exciting).
- Critical stuff: a friend telling you directions to his birthday party.
Time is of the essence for any parent. Especially for those who have to work as well as raise the children. The best course of action is to incorporate these activities into everyday life.
For example, you can do it:
- While driving. The car is my favorite place to do a bit of teaching. It also makes the trip much more enjoyable for both you and the kids!
- While bathing your child. Why not do it while he is in the bathtub? It will also help to cheer up those that hate taking a bath.
- While eating. The critical and non-critical game can add a whole lot of ‘spice’ to a mealtime! It also gets the entire family involved.
There are many other ways to teach your kid how to differentiate between critical and non-critical information. It’s particularly crucial in today’s digital age that is overflowing with unimportant data and information.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released guidelines about the impact of screen time on youngsters. Feel free to learn more about it by following this link.
More Articles By Kath Denholm
- Teaching Your Child Thinking Skills
- Episode 38: Practical Tips for Improving Memory
- 5 Secrets to Teaching Effective Listening
More About the Author
Kath lives with her husband and 3 young children in a small coastal town in South Africa. She is a speech therapist, who worked in London, Private Practices in Cape Town and KZN and then finally taught at Livingstone Remedial School in KZN, South Africa for 3 years. During this time, Daren Denholm, her memory guru husband, trained her up to compete with him at the 2011 World Memory Championships in China, while she was 6 months pregnant with their first child! The Chinese competitors complained that she was cheating because she had 2 brains. She sat next to the youngest competitor, a 9-year-old Chinese girl. It was at this point that the Online Little Genius Puppets program was conceived.