For ParentsParenting in 2020

3 Ways You Can Help Your Child Build Critical Thinking Skills

Automation has become a prominent force in the labour market, and it will become a dominant one across most sectors in the near future.  While it may seem that blue collar jobs would face the most automation risk, the World Economic Forum reported that complex but fairly routine white collar jobs may actually face a higher risk.

In its Future of Jobs report, the World Economic Forum also observed that by 2020, critical thinking would be one of the core skills that place high on the list for hiring managers. Critical thinking is the ability to clearly and rationally evaluate what to believe, or what actions to take when faced with a problem.

Author Joe Y.F. Lau lists six things that critical thinkers are skilled at:

  • Understanding the logical connections between ideas.
  • Identifying, constructing, and evaluating arguments.
  • Detecting inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning.
  • Solving problems systematically.
  • Identifying the relevance and importance of ideas.
  • Reflecting on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values.

Mastering critical thinking takes effort. So how should parents help their child to build critical thinking faculties?

This article lists 3 ways you can incorporate critical thinking training into your daily life:

1. Practice Active Reading

Active reading is a process in which a reader asks questions as they read. This is different from simply reading for entertainment, or reading a text multiple times to memorise it. 

The goal of building active reading skills is so that the reader understands various subject more deeply, and proactively evaluates the validity and strength of the writer’s arguments. 

The 5 Ws and 1 H questions (i.e. Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How) are basic open-ended questions that can be applied when practicing active reading. Asking such questions as “why do you think was this decision was made?”, “in what context are these actions being taken?”, or “how has the writer justified his argument?” are extremely effective ways to examine the meaning behind the words. 

Try prompting your child to think about these things as they read a short news article, and let us know how it goes in the comments! 

2. Encourage your child to make personal encounters count

The opportunity from people who have greater experience than ourselves is always valuable. Encourage your child to be inquisitive, and to ask their mentors, teacher, or even your friends about their experiences, jobs, and challenges.

Little by little, this provides your child with greater scaffolding with which to navigate the world, and to learn from each person that they meet. 

3. Include board games in your list of family activities

Games such as Power Grid, Checkers, or Bridge are fun activities for the whole family which can help to improve your children’s analytical skills. Playing these board and card games can serve to bond your family, while imparting adaptability and strategic thinking ability in your child over time. 

Board games are an easy and fun way to encourage mental and social development in your child, and help to encourage anticipatory and decision making skills.

What other tips do you have on building your child’s critical thinking skills? Let us know in the comments below!

About author


Shaun is Founder of Learnable. Through Learnable, Shaun hopes to help learners optimise their efforts to achieve better results over time. Prior to Learnable, Shaun was previously with the Economic Strategy team in the Ministry of Finance, where he led policy development and strategic financing of key national initiatives. Shaun also brings with him deep experience in entrepreneurship, having served as Director, Strategy & Growth at TwinRock, co-founder of 40Tasks, and Editor-in-Chief of Matchmove. In his (very limited) free time, Shaun likes singing, and hiking. His poison: kopi-o-kosong ping. Get in Touch!
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