Teaching Your Child Thinking Skills

August 18, 2020
Written by:
Kath Denholm

An American anthropologist Margaret Mead states that parents should first and foremost teach their kids HOW to think, rather than instructing them on WHAT they should think. It is of utmost importance that your child is taught HOW to think critically from an early age.

Essential Critical Thinking Skills For Your Child!

1. Effective Listening
The first step is to teach your kid how to listen and focus on information effectively. To do this you need to encourage your child to stop any activity when you are talking to him. This way, your child can effectively hear, process, and remember all you say. Parents need to equip themselves with other strategies to aid their child’s thinking skills.

2. The Distinction Between Critical and Non-critical Information
Your child should understand that not every piece of information is equally as important. You need to teach your kid to distinguish between insignificant and significant information, especially in this modern world of information overload. This way, he can learn to filter out the unimportant details and focus on the important concepts while honing his/her critical thinking skills.

3. Identifying Key Concepts
Now that your child can identify significant information, it is important to teach your kid how to identify the keywords or concepts within that information. He should be able to do this from both an auditory and a written source.

4. Effective reading
Your child must be taught how to process and comprehend this very important data. Comprehension is a difficult skill to master. As a result, most children have a negative view of comprehension and detest the activity. If a child is taught early on how to comprehend a text correctly, he should really enjoy this task. Critical thinking skills are taught indirectly with reading practice.

5. Note-taking
Learning how to take notes is a skill that plays a key role throughout school and adulthood. If a child can learn to note-take or doodle (the less daunting verb) from an early age, his life will be altered significantly. According to research, this technique actually helps people of any age improve focus and retain information!

6. Summarising
The earlier a child can learn how to create a summary of the significant information, the better. This is a really difficult skill to master but if taught early on, when the work is little and simple, it will help later on in one’s schooling career. Summarising is essential to critical thinking.

7. Long – Term Memory
There are many ways to memorize data effectively. It is important for you as a parent to know what the memory systems are before teaching your child the systems. Once again the earlier your child can be exposed to these systems the better.

8. The Art of Revision
In the world of long-term memory and effective learning, revision is one of the key skills required. If a child can learn the habit of revision early on, this will help him immensely, especially as the workload increases.

9. Living Skilfully
Our aim as educators and parents is to teach our children to become wholesome, functional, and skilled adults. Teaching your child how to think critically is extremely difficult. However, it’s an important challenge on the road to making your child a valuable member of society.


More about the author, Kath Denholm

Homeschooling Advice with KathKath 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.