Thinking kids are growing kids. When our kids are too involved with amusements, their minds naturally switch to a neutral mode. That can be very damaging when you’re trying to help kids be thinkers! As parents and teachers, how can we encourage our kids to stay in the “thinking mode”?
Knowledge is power, right? Let’s help the kids in our lives grasp that power through simple steps and connections. As influencers in the lives of kids, we have a responsibility to emphasize how pertinent it is for our kids to become thinkers — and not knowledgeless bystanders. Life’s too short not to be a thinker!
Helping Kids to Be Thinkers
- Constantly ask questions. If a child observes something in nature, at the store or even at home, take a few minutes and ask her about the object. Ask questions the include the how, when, where and why. Some examples of thinking questions are these:
- Will the caterpillar stay a caterpillar?
- Why does the bread rise when it sits in a warm place?
- How far away is the moon?
- When do people on the other side of the world see the moon?
- Where do animals get the knowledge to take care of their babies?
- What happens when we boil water? Is it still water?
- Visit museums. From art to science, museums can be found all over the entire world. Surely kids can be inspired to be thinkers when they’re in a place that celebrates knowledge and creativity. Many of them are free, while some offer low cost admission. There’s really no excuse for not growing in knowledge from these amazing buildings filled with creations and thought-provoking pieces.
- Read, read, read. Purchase favorite books online to encourage your kids to read. I noticed a huge change in one of my reluctant readers when I bought her Amelia Bedelia books. She fell in love with the stories and has been glued to books ever since! Don’t forget to take weekly trips to the library and check out at least 10 books for your child to devour during the week OT make reading even more fun, create a small reading nook within your home that’s super-fun and comfy.
- Engage with kids like normal people. Why do so many adults talk over and around kids? And if they talk to kids, it’s about Disney World, matchbox cars or other kid-related objects? Why not involve them in daily happenings and life issues? Talk to them about the prices at the grocery store, discuss traffic lights and signs or even invite them into the kitchen and discuss all the steps involved preparing meals. When you’re connecting with your kids like you connect with adults, they will naturally become better thinkers!
- Choose educational screen-time. There are numerous educational apps, movies and shows that offer kids learning opportunities without wasting their brain on frivolous concepts. Taking advantage of screen time to fill your child’s head with knowledge will pay off in the end. I’m totally convinced my husband is super-smart because he watched hours of Square One when he was a kid. What a nerd — wink, wink!
- Encourage them to follow their interests. If your son is interested in horses, take him to a ranch, purchase books on horses and download educational movies related to horses, horse care and horse-back riding. Whatever your child peeks an interest in, use that for fun learning and thinking opportunities. The more fun learning is, the more your kids will want to be thinkers!
Are you engaging with your kids daily and discussing issues and objects to encourage thinking? How do you help your kids become thinkers? Share your ideas with us on Facebook!
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