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Every Kid Deserves the Chance to Learn and Grow

Pair these FREE educator-developed printable activities with your favorite Encantos videos, books, and songs to help your child develop critical reading, writing, math, and social emotional learning skills. Plus, check out our Tips for Grown-ups to help reinforce the teachable moments in each lesson.

Oct 20, 2022 - 4 min

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How Critical Thinking Helps Kids Make Better Decisions

Learn how to help your little one start thinking critically. Critical thinking helps children make responsible decisions, solve problems, and gain a better perspective.

‘Think before you speak’ is something we commonly say to kids and it’s a good habit that everyone should practice. When we think first it allows us to be more tactful and purposeful about the things we say and the decisions we make. In order to thoroughly think through an idea or situation, one needs to tap into their critical thinking skills.

Schools excel at teaching kids facts and figures, but the ability to think critically is a new fundamental that’s often missed in the typical classroom. Critical thinking is how we move beyond rote memorization to clearly and cogently understand facts, context, and perspective so that we can evaluate information, analyze deeper themes and meaning, and solve problems. 

While we may not realize it, we use critical thinking every day, beginning as early as age 2. This is the skill that allows kids to think through situations that may be new or unfamiliar, synthesizing information in the great big world around them. Developing critical thinking skills at a young age sets kids up to have strong foundations in other important life skills like relationship building, communication, and adaptability.

Critical thinking is essential for success in our ever-changing world, from childhood through adulthood. Increasingly, across professional fields, critical thinking is regarded as one of the most desirable skills to have in the modern workforce. 

We can’t protect our kids forever, and once they’ve flown the nest it’s crucial that they feel prepared to navigate each new situation as they enter adulthood. They’ll need to be able to think quickly on their feet and find solutions to complex problems at a moment’s notice. By helping them strengthen their critical thinking superpower at a young age, you are setting them up for a lifetime of problems solved, bonds built, and goals achieved. 

Here are 4 of our favorite tips to help your little one start thinking critically: 

  • Allow opportunities for play - Free play helps with brain development as children are utilizing their creativity and imagination, while strengthening their physical and cognitive skills.
  • Provide wait time - Don’t just give your child the answer—allow them ample time to attempt tasks and consider their actions, a question, or a problem so they can try to come up with a solution on their own.
  • Ask open-ended questions - By asking questions you create opportunities for deep, thoughtful reasoning—forcing your child to think through their actions, express their opinions, make connections, use their imagination, and elaborate on ideas—which helps foster a broad mindset.
  • Allow them to make errors - Mistakes are how we grow and learn; challenges give children the opportunity to put their critical thinking skills to the test as they attempt different strategies and ideas in order to work through their issues.

Helping your child become a better critical thinker will set them up for future success. They will make better decisions, become better citizens, tap into their innate creativity, and even live happier lives—exactly what we want for our children.

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Ask a Bilingual Expert

Raising a bilingual child? On this page, our very own Director of Learning Design and Efficacy, Sophia Espinoza, addresses some of the most common questions, concerns, and curiosities around the benefits of bilingualism. Get the scoop below!

Sophia Espinoza is a career educator and curriculum designer with seven years of experience teaching in private and independent schools across the country. She is an expert in 21st-century education, including technologically-powered personalization, multilingual and multicultural curriculums, and social-emotional learning.

Sophia began teaching in Chicago Public Schools through Chicago Teaching Fellows, learning to support both English Language Learners and students with neurodiverse needs. Among her proudest accomplishments is launching the AltSchool Spanish Immersion Program, with the mission of creating bilingual global citizens who are socially conscious and environmentally aware. Sophia holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and M.A.Ed. from Dominican University.

Benefits of Bilingualism (FAQs):

Any advice on managing two Spanish dialects in the household? Does this cause confusion for kids?

What do you recommend if I’m not completely fluent and my child’s school doesn’t have an immersion class?

Do you recommend teaching different subjects in different languages? For example, the solar system in English and the days of the week in Spanish? Or is it better for kids to try to learn in both languages all the time?

We speak Spanish and English in our home but my child almost always answers or talks back in English. How can I go about encouraging her to respond and speak more in Spanish?

Should I set aside time or create activities for each language or is it okay to mix them both together?

Any advice for households where one parent speaks Spanish and the other English? Can this be confusing for children?

How can my child learn language through play?

What are the social and cultural benefits of bilingualism?

What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?

What are some strategies for raising bilingual children?

What are some common misconceptions about raising bilingual children?

What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?