In my earlier column of August 23, Are You Right-Parenting Your Gen-Alpha Child?, I had posed a question – Are you preparing your Gen Alpha child for the VUCA world. I also shared about the three skills – Curiosity, Critical Thinking, and Compassion. Here goes part 2 of the column.
Here’s why Curiosity, Critical Thinking and Compassion are important:
Curiosity is a vital trait required for the new generation of children. It helps them to understand their surroundings and make sense of the world. Curious child learns more about themselves and others.
Curiosity in children helps them ask questions. And that triggers the wanting to learn more about the things around them. From how plants grow to what happens when you put an orange peel in a lime juice concentrate – curiosity has no bounds.
Only by exploring and feeding into that inquisitiveness will they learn new information and gain a sense of accomplishment. And they will learn to solve their own problems and, over time, even learn to solve problems for others (and the world, maybe).
Curiosity is a critical skill for Gen Alpha child
Curiosity is helping far more than imagination. Studies have shown that it helps children understand concepts like time, space, and numbers. Curious children find it easier to learn, read and write.
It drives them to explore the world around them, which leads to developing skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.
Curiosity is vital for a good and successful life.
How can you build curiosity in your child?
Curiosity is a natural human trait that every person is born with. It is a given that not all children will continue to develop their curiosity as they grow up. They ask questions and seek answers from adults around them. The ability to ask questions is an essential skill that helps children understand and gain more knowledge about the world around them.
We, as parents and teachers, and adults, may be responsible for them. When we stop them from experimenting when we brush off their questions (for which we do not know the answer or when we scorn them for asking embarrassing questions – we are quelling their curiosity. Over time, they stop asking, experimenting and exploring. That spells a death knell to what they were born with naturally.
If you want your child to develop a healthy curiosity, they need opportunities to be curious without fear of judgment or punishment.
2. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to think logically, rationally, and analytically to objectively evaluate situations, solve problems, and make decisions based on logic rather than emotion.
Think about it as an ability to think about thinking. It can be applied to any subject of study– i.e., not limited to a subject like science, economics, maths, or psychology. It spans across the spectrum.
Critical thinking involves being able to identify one’s own biases, assumptions, and values; understand the limitations of one’s knowledge; and recognize when our thinking is flawed or incomplete.
Critical thinking is a vital competency for 21st-century children.
It allows children to make informed decisions and solve problems. The ability to think critically enables children to be self-aware and self-directed learners who can recognize when they need help with their studies or other life tasks. It enables them to see things from different perspectives, solve problems creatively and make better life choices.
It helps them make sense of the world around them. When we are faced with a complex situation where prior answers do not exist, their first instinct is to Google. The alternative is to ask others – like family or friends – and trust their answers than their own instincts.
However, by developing critical thinking skills early on in life, children will learn to trust their instincts while taking ‘inputs’ from others and evaluating what others say before deciding. They would choose a course of action that would be best for themselves. This is more relevant today when we live in echo chambers and are manipulated by all social feeds on what we should think., feel and believe.
What can you do to make your child critical thinkers?
If you are a parent, you know that your child’s education is the most important thing in the world to you.But what exactly is education? Is it about learning facts and figures? Is it about memorising Math formulae, historical dates, and the atomic number of electrons in chemistry? Or does it mean using those facts and using logic and reason to come up with new ideas, ask questions, and solve problems?
Critical thinking is a skill that can be developed, and children must develop it. It is important. if you don’t build those critical thinking skills, they won’t be able to make good decisions or solve problems,
Critical thinking as a skill may or may not be in the school curriculum but is a definite must-have in life’s curriculum. This will help them succeed not only in school, but also in life.
Critical thinking is an important skill that every child should develop. It helps them to learn, grow and thrive.This makes them more likely to succeed academically, socially, and professionally throughout their lives.
Compassion starts with an understanding that others have problems and pain, just like you do. Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a powerful desire to alleviate the suffering.
When children learn compassion at an early age, they grow up with a sense of responsibility for their actions toward others and for caring for themselves as well. This self-awareness makes them more confident in their actions and less likely to become bullies or abusers later in life.
Compassion is not just a “nice” thing; it is essential to human life. Compassion helps establish bonds between people, which is how we form communities and societies. Without compassion, we would be unable to cooperate or even communicate with each other.
Compassion forms the core of human evolution.
If a child doesn’t develop this ability, they won’t be able to connect with others effectively, leading to loneliness, isolation, and depression.
Compassion is necessary for children. They must learn to care for others, demonstrate empathy, and be kind towards others. Only when children do not develop compassion they will grow up to be unselfish adults who care about how their actions affect others around them.
Without compassion, children may have difficulty forming relationships with others or showing concern for anyone other than themselves or their immediate family members. They may also face problems such as bullying, loneliness, or depression. They do not feel connected with others.
Compassion isn’t just about recognizing others’ pain; it is about taking action to try to alleviate that pain. For example, if someone is upset about something that happened at school or at home, a compassionate child will try to help them feel better by listening attentively and validating their feelings (“that sounds really hard”). By doing this, they will be able to help their friend feel better while also learning more about how they can help others when they need it themselves.
We cannot teach Compassion; how can we help them learn?
Firstly, compassion cannot be taught. We as parents must live by example, and our children will observe and imbibe the qualities of how to be kind towards others by following our example themselves in their own settings. We can foster and nurture these by the small things that we do consciously- saying pleasant things about other people, doing nice things for others, etc.
The good news is that compassion isn’t something new for the child; it is already there—they just need guidance about how to use it properly.
We can demonstrate that you care about other people in the child’s setting. For example, if your child is playing with another child who looks upset, take a moment to ask her what is wrong and try to help out.
We may not be able to teach, but we can talk to them about how other people feel. Talk about everyday experiences, such as how children feel when hungry or tired. Kids need to know that other people have feelings just like they do, so try talking about your feelings with them.
You could even introduce the idea of “how would you feel if…” questions so they can start empathizing about how others might feel in different situations.
One of the other things is to encourage them to help others: Children love feeling valuable and important, which makes this method especially effective!
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