Listening is one of the most important skills your child will have need to master as they grow into an adult. It is essential to know that not everything we hear is important. Trying to absorb all the information that we encounter daily would drive us mad! Developing critical and non-critical information identification at a young age is another vital step in your child’s development.
Introducing the concept of critical vs non-critical information to your child
The first step in helping your child to learn to identify the difference between critical and non-critical information is to explain what CRITICAL actually means.
Most children over the age of 3 can begin to grasp this concept, even if they can barely pronounce the word! Explain to your child that failing to pay attention to and not responding to important information can have consequences.
On the flip side, paying attention enables us to take advantage of opportunities – not that it is very difficult to get a child to pay attention when you have a gift or treat for them! You can introduce the term non-critical to your child once they understand the word critical.
Teaching your child to identify the difference between Critical and Non-Critical Information
Being able to identify the difference between critical and non-critical information can mean the difference between a relaxed, successful exam period and a stressful one.
Every subject and situation requires it’s own thought process. The best way to help your child improve their critical thinking skills is to practice with them. Making a game of it is a surefire way to get your child interested and participating.
In this Critical Information Game, you present information to your child in the form of a story, a riddle or some other creative way and then ask them to tell you what information is important and what is not. This kind of practice will help your child to think independently and master the art of critical thinking in any situation.
Finding time to teach your child critical thinking
Doing exercises to with your kids to improve their critical thinking doesn’t have to be another job. Many of us already spend every waking second balancing work and family.
You can incorporate the Critical Information Game into your everyday life. In fact, you might find it is not only a great way to teach your child the difference between critical and non-critical information, but also a fantastic distraction!
3 Examples of when and how play to play the game
- The automobile: My classroom away from the classroom. Try asking your child to identify important information in the surrounding environment. This can teach them about identifying important information related to safety.
- The dining table: Have fun with your family over meal time. Get everyone to make up stories and play the Critical Information Game together!
- The washtub: A perfect place and time to slip in a couple of rounds of the game with younger children!
Being able to identify the difference between critical and non-critical information at an early age is becoming ever more important in the modern world. The WHO (World Health Organisation) supplies these guidelines on screen time for children to help parents in our age of information overload. Helping your child to develop critical thinking skills is both easy and necessary. Good luck and enjoy!
Kath lives with her husband and 3 young children in a small coastal town in South Africa. She is a speech therapist, who worked in London, Private Practices in Cape Town and KZN and then finally taught at Livingstone Remedial School in KZN, South Africa for 3 years. During this time, Daren Denholm, her memory guru husband, trained her up to compete with him at the 2011 World Memory Championships in China, while she was 6 months pregnant with their first child! The Chinese competitors complained that she was cheating because she had 2 brains. She sat next to the youngest competitor, a 9 year old Chinese girl. It was at this point that the Online Little Genius Puppets program was conceived.
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