Creative thinking is important for your child. Learning to think creatively and critically will help your child be able to tackle any problem they face - setting them up for success both now and for the rest of their life. Want to help your child foster the critical thinking skills they need? Here are five actionable ways you can help your child learn to think outside the box.
1. Decrease Screen Time
Watching a TV show, a YouTube video, or playing a video game is a passive activity. It doesn’t require your child to participate or do much of anything other than sit there and stare at the screen. What’s more, studies have shown that screen media has a negative effect on children's creativity.
Decreasing the amount of screen time your children have each day will push them to be more creative in finding ways to occupy themselves. You don’t have to completely do away with the TV or iPad. Just make sure the amount of creative playtime your kids are getting each day far exceeds the amount of time they spend looking at a screen.
2. Don’t Give All the Answers
If your child is struggling with a problem or question, it might be tempting to immediately jump in and provide the answer. But if you do this, he or she won’t develop those critical thinking skills that are so essential. Take a step back and give your child enough time to think through the problem for themselves. You can ask guiding questions if needed. Just don’t solve the problem for them right away.
3. Provide STEM-Based Toys
Supply your children with the resources they need for creative play. STEM-based toys help develop critical thinking skills because they give kids the opportunity to problem solve, implementing different solutions to see what works.
Try providing toys like a magnetic kit, suction blocks, or magnetic building tiles. These STEM toys are the perfect way to help kids develop logic and critical thinking skills as they investigate the principles of physics in a hands-on way.
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Remember, you don’t want to set up the answer for your child. Instead, encourage them to work out a question for themselves.
A great way to do this is by asking open-ended questions. If your child is struggling to put together a puzzle, don’t ask obvious questions such as, “Don’t you think the red piece should go here?” Instead, ask an open-ended question: “What piece do you think goes next?” This will help your child develop strong critical thinking skills as they consider the problem for themselves.
5. Rinse and Repeat
It’s never too late to start encouraging your kids to think creatively. Start fostering those problem-solving skills as early as possible - if you haven’t started yet, today is the best time! Then be consistent from now on. Taking steps day after day to help your kids think creatively is the best way to raise kids who truly know how to think outside the box.