The Critical Thinking Questions You Should Be Asking Your Children

Critical thinking – the ability to take in new information and determine how best to use it – plays a large role in the lives of young children. With all of the new things your child will learn before age 5, you want to make sure she’ll be ready to apply each lesson when the time comes.

Close-up of young boy practicing critical thinking skills

    Don’t worry – you’re likely already doing several things to help build your child’s critical thinking! In fact, playtime is a great time to naturally focus on this skill, along with other important executive function skills like working memory and self-control. Try the following tips and activities to intentionally nurture critical thinking at home:

  • Ask open-ended questions: Give your child plenty of time to figure out her own answers. Ask open-ended questions like:
    • “How does that make you feel?”
    • “What would you do if ______ happened? Why?”
    • “Why did you decide to draw that?”
  • Arrange a playdate: Playing with other children offers a perfect time for your child to take in new information. She’ll need to learn how to react or use new information in order to keep play going.
  • Role play: Introduce new information while playing pretend or dress-up and ask your child how she would react or what she would do. Create scenarios and ask your child what should happen next!

Critical thinking is just one of several important executive function skills, along with teamwork and problem solving. Learn how to nurture them in your child with our helpful executive function tips and resources.

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