5 Questions to Ask to Develop Your Child's Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking skills may sound like a big concept but, fret not. Children who attend childcare or preschools in Singapore are undergoing guided development of their critical thinking skills in various ways. 

Why are critical thinking skills important for children’s development?

An aspect of their cognitive development, this is important because children are learning to make decisions and understand the impact of actions and consequences. By sharpening critical thinking in children, they learn to think, imagine, analyse and evaluate information and situations to come up with solutions for problems.

The benefits of being a good critical thinker will help these little ones through their schooling journey and their adult life, especially when they meet roadblocks.

At home, parents can intentionally ask some questions to stimulate your curious one’s minds.


Questions to ask to develop your child’s critical thinking skills:

1. “What do you think may happen if we do this?”

A great way to stimulate one’s mind is through imagination and experimentation. Ask your child open-ended questions and you will also have a chance to understand his thought process and what he understands about the world. 

Asking questions like, “Will ______ happen if we do this?” or “What if we don’t do this?”, allows him to put on the thinking cap to assess the possible scenarios and draw conclusions too.

2. “Are there other options/ways?”

Sometimes in life, there are no definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Before making a decision, our critical thinking skills are sparked to find out if there are other solutions. 

During playtime with your child, guide your child through trial and error. Tap on questions such as “Are there other blocks we could use to build a house?” or “Can we use other recycled materials to make a robot?”

Solving problems may require creativity and more insightful thinking – both of which nurture critical thinkers from young.

3. “What can you conclude about this?”

Besides discovering if your child can express her thoughts explicitly with words, asking this question gives you insights into your child’s analytical skills. Drawing conclusions requires the linking of ideas and facts, and finally summing up a hypothesis. Being able to reason with logic is also an integral cognitive development for preschoolers.


4. “What would you do if you were in this situation?”

Reading a storybook together can present a fun thought-provoking activity for parents and children too. 

“What would you do if you were Little Red Riding Hood and you saw a wolf in grandma’s bed?” or “If you were Little Mermaid’s father, what would you have done to stop Little Mermaid?”

There are no right or wrong answers – listening to your child’s innocent response can be pretty insightful too! It’d give parents an interesting perspective of how kids can come up with different ideas and suggestions when decision-making is needed.

5. “Why did you choose…?”

Heading out to the indoor playground and your little princess decided to wear her prettiest dress with a long train? It’s probably not the most ideal outfit so instead of scolding her, how about finding out why she picked it? It might have been an emotionally led decision to wear the dress. 

By asking questions to trigger her thinking process and what to expect at the playground, it offers her an environmental insight to understand if her choice of apparel would be comfortable for her to jump, run and slide down in. That way, she learns to evaluate if her choice was ideal or not. Thereafter, her experience may influence her future choice.

Over time, children learn to rationalise and link matters together as they understand how a decision can affect the next matter.


Nurturing critical thinkers at preschools in Singapore

With an integrated approach to theme-based learning and experiential learning, Little Footprints Preschool’s curriculum in Singapore stimulates children to think further about how things work around them. 

For example, with some familiar ingredients, the children learned about chemistry concepts like density and chemical reaction through their experiments. Through a hands-on approach to learning, preschoolers are exposed to thinking within the theme, and out of the box too. Who says only adults can be critical thinkers?

Conveniently located in various heartland estates in Singapore, Little Footprints Preschool offers quality childcare support for families.

Visit your nearest Little Footprints Preschool to find out about our curriculum and programmes, and how they help to develop important learning skills like critical thinking in children.

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