Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The ABCs of Raising A Thinking Child
A is for Ask
Instead of answering your child's question with an answer, ask her to think of what a possible answer might be. This practice forces your child to think about possible solutions, hypotheses or reasons instead of lazily accepting a spoonfed answer. (It also eliminates an endless string of nonsensical "why?" questions).
B is for Brave
Dare your child to be brave and to march to the beat of her own drummer. Try to find examples in everyday life when you are making a choice based on your own reasons of what others are ding. If other families are staying late at the park (past your child's naptime), explain to your child that even though most other families are still there, you are going home to get some rest because you want to have energy for an evening walk later. By explaining your reasons and the consequences of your choice, your child will understand why you are making her leave earlier than others and that it is okay to be doing something different when there is a reason for the different choice. Let her know it's okay to color outside the lines, inside the lines, or off the coloring page completely!
C is for Choice
When your child doesn't know how to solve a particular problem or an answer or definition of something, give her choices (like clues) and let her work out the solution on her own. This helps her learn how to assign value to and compare pieces of information and engages her critical thinking skills. Choices are also effective in teaching appropriate behaviour without scare tactics or a follow-the-leader mentality. For example, if your child wants to go out into the snow in her tank top, let her make that choice and see what the consequences of the choice are. Use this opportunity to explain the factors that go into making a well-thought out choice: like observing the weather to see if a turtleneck would make a more reasonable choice when it's snowing because it is warmer.
D is for Discover
The more your child is exposed to different scenes, people, cultures, food and experiences, the more she'll be able to understand the world around her and the idea that there are numerous ways of doing things and thinking about things. Even if you can't travel to far away places, have fun on local outings to ethnic grocery stores and try new foods, or just take a drive to the next town, the zoo or a children's museum. You can take little adventures online (like through the Around the World in 12 dishes series) or discover new adventures in books borrowed from the library.
E is for Experiment
It's never too early to experiment. Not just science experiments, but experimenting with different outcomes in art, math, science, reading and life lessons. Let your child engage in sensory plays as an infant and toddler to give her a direct, hands on experience with discovering the world around her. Let your toddler touch too hot bath water (under your supervision) to learn about hot and cold as well as a life lesson in testing out the water before jumping in. Little ones can even be trusted with glass or china so they become familiar with the weight and handling of objects.
* tips from The Outlaw Mom Blog :-)