How to Teach Children to Think for Themselves
Encourage self-expression & conversation: avoid simply passing along your ideas or information. Encourage them to express their thoughts. Ask how their day went, what they would do in X situation, and what they think. Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers and engage in full conversations with them.
Encourage play time: it’s vital for their natural development and ability to socialize with their peers and surroundings. The better people are at play, the more likely they are to understand the world and learn to take risks.
Encourage hands-on projects: letting them take lead or initiative will not only get them thinking strategically but it also shows that you trust them. Trust instills responsibility. You show them trust by not hovering over their every move and by letting them learn from their mistakes. Taking responsibility is vital to achieve success.
Encourage brainstorm sessions together: when a problem surfaces roll-up your sleeves, take out a notepad and hand them a pen. Brainstorming together will get your brain power pumping, solve the problem, and bring you closer together.
Encourage consistency: be sure to let them make decisions everyday. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small, but don’t leave the thinking for themselves as a once-a-month challenge.
Teaching our kids to think for themselves doesn’t mean that we let them do what they want because that’s what they’re thinking. Rather, we allow them to explore their thoughts and share their ideas, while teaching them that every action has a consequence and inappropriate choices result in a punishment. Get to know your child’s unique thinking process and enjoy the journey as they flourish into successful human beings.