What is Independent Thinking and Why Does It Matter?
Independent thinking is the desire to assess on your own whether information is true or reasonable. Independent thinkers use their own lens to filter information, rather than accepting it as is. Many people believe what they are taught without question, but independent thinkers use observations and experiences to determine if something makes sense.
Children must develop the desire and ability to think on their own. It’s the key to acquiring critical problem-solving skills. Independent thinkers are more discerning about things they see and hear. Over time, they learn to question assumptions and build the confidence to defend their own viewpoint. They also feel secure saying, “I don’t know.”
Children with independent thinking skills can lead a group to better ways of doing things. They strengthen teams by sharing new ideas and asking questions. In order to do this, especially in childhood, self-esteem is a critical factor. Children must have confidence in their thoughts and opinions in order to voice them in a group.
Independent thinking is critical in the digital world, where children are inundated with information. It’s also essential to becoming an entrepreneur, which requires making independent decisions, trusting in your own thoughts, and finding new ways to solve problems.
Helping Your Child Develop Independent Thinking Skills
Guiding your child toward independent thought is a process that takes time, effort, and patience. The following techniques can help:
Reading a wide variety of materials exposes kids to a range of viewpoints that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter. They are challenged to explore their own outlook and beliefs when they understand that other people experience life differently.
Interacting with New and Different People
Talking and playing with kids of different ages, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic circumstances can open a child’s mind to different worldviews and opinions. They are also likely to find lots of common ground. That can help kids be more open in their views and their approach to problems, and it allows them to grow as individuals.
Experiencing life in different parts of the country and other parts of the world can open children’s minds to different cultures and experiences, allowing them to understand that there are many ways to think, act, and live.
Pretending and Independent Play
Allowing a child to play alone supports imaginative play and leaves room for creativity and trying different approaches. Encourage your child to pretend to be different people, animals, or other creatures.
Asking Kids Questions
Challenging children with difficult questions will inspire them to stretch the boundaries of their thinking. Ask questions that require them to think creatively rather than rely on known facts. That encourages thinking on their own about difficult concepts and being inquisitive about why things happen.
Encouraging Kids to Ask Questions
Kids are curious about the world, and they want to know how things work. Encourage them to ask questions and always make time to answer them properly, no matter how large or small the question. Acknowledging their curiosity and giving a thoughtful answer inspires them to continue seeking knowledge.
Allowing Opposing Views
Allow your kids to disagree and let them explain their reasoning, as long as they remain respectful. Kids should be allowed to make up their own minds about topics that are important to them. Encourage healthy debate at the dinner table.
Giving Freedom to Make Mistakes
Kids learn through trial and error, but sometimes, they feel afraid to make a mistake or to fail. “Spoon-feeding” and protecting them from making mistakes are not helpful in developing independent thinking skills. Allow room for failure and encourage them to try again until they figure it out.
Allow children to solve problems independently. Whether it’s schoolwork, a challenging puzzle, or a disagreement with a friend. Let your child brainstorm, experiment, and find a solution independently.
Coding to Improve Independent Thinking Skills
Learning to code challenges children to try out many of these techniques. Kids learn to approach problems with an open mind and find creative solutions through experimentation and multiple attempts. They learn to handle uncertainty, admitting when they don’t know the answer but trying different solutions until one works. They assess information and determine for themselves how to proceed.
Troubleshooting, perseverance, and finding creative solutions all lead to stronger independent thinking skills. A person with these skills grows into someone who is better equipped for school, the digital world, and the modern workforce. If you’re ready to help your child open up his or her mind by learning to code, we’d love to hear from you!