by Guest Post

Develop Independent Thought in Children: Are Schools Supporting Critical Thinking?

by Guest Post

How to Develop Independent Thought in Your Children

An effort to develop independent thought in children can have so many other positive spin-offs. Read how to encourage this and whether your child’s school is helping.

Did you know that 30 years ago the United States was a leader in the quality of education and high school diplomas? Today, the United States ranks 36th in the world and is a prime example of what to not do in the education system and why it’s so important to develop independent thought in children.

In Vancouver, however, the rating is much better. There are many different ways that schools are helping develop independent thought and successful educational outcomes in Vancouver. 

Keep reading for what you need to know about accomplishing critical thinking in children. 

Why Develop Independent Thought

Following instructions is important but sometimes it’s more important to be able to develop independent thought. Thinking on their own gives children the freedom to learn and be able to accomplish tasks on their own in the real world. You want your children to succeed all the time, even when you aren’t around. 

These skills are essential to school and life. People need to know how to figure things out on their own without having to rely on other people to do it for them. 

Give Your Child Responsibility 

One of the best ways to develop independent thought is to give children opportunities to think on their own every day. An easy way to do this without preparing activities is by asking them open-ended questions. These questions can help them stretch the boundaries of what they know and think about different concepts. 

Encourage them to think and give responses that are not a yes or no. This can help them develop the skills to allow critical responses. 

Build Confidence 

If a kid lacks confidence they will naturally start looking to others for help in making decisions for them. On the other hand, if they have good self-esteem and confidence they won’t second guess their decisions and will be able to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. 

Travel With Your Children

Experiencing life through the lens of other cultures can open your child’s eyes to other ways of life. Experiences out of their norm allow them to understand that people think, act, and behave differently. Developing independent thought is about stepping out of your comfort zone.

Allow Room For Mistakes

Learning from mistakes will allow children to make their own experiences. Many parents shelter their kids for protection. This can hurt their development and prevent them from being able to see what other options they have or what could have gone differently in the midst of a mistake.

Going against the grain can be hard, but it’s important to give children the opportunity to make their own choices. You can still help guide them during their journey. 


Reading often is a great way to expose kids to different viewpoints that they might not encounter normally. It can help develop independent thought while also improving writing, vocabulary, and organizational skills. 

develop independent thought

Learn New Skills

If your child is interested in something encourage them to develop those skills or at least try it out. Especially never discourage them if they are not good at it. Allow them the time to fail or ask questions so they can do better the next time they try. 

Allow Opposite Viewpoints

If your child disagrees with you that is okay. Make sure you have them explain their reasoning so that they can make their mind up about what is important to them. As long as the conversation continues to remain respectful you should encourage healthy debates at the dinner table with your family. 

Set Goals 

Teachers and parents alike can help promote success in children by incorporating purposeful goals. Encouraging goal setting can cultivate focus, understanding and intention. Fulfilling purpose helps develop young minds and assures them that independent goals and thinking can be exciting and worth pursuing. 


Allowing your child to have alone time can leave room for creativity and trying different approaches. Children often play imaginatively which should be encouraged by parents and teachers. Pretending to be different people, creatures, or animals will give them the idea that there are different ways to act and behave depending on the situation. 

Allow Expression

Let your children be themselves. If you are trying to change who they are as a person this will make them believe that something is wrong with them and they will start to lose their confidence and second guess their abilities. 

Try to encourage them to express themselves how they feel comfortable and through words. Try not to correct them but rather help them say what they want so they can still feel supported and independent. 

Don’t Compare

When you start to compare your child to other things, it teaches them to look at ranking for value and whether they are better or worse than others. There will always be people who are better, smarter, or faster. Instead, encourage them to do things their own way and celebrate their performance. 

If you promote the talent and hobbies of your children they will continue their efforts. This will allow them to grow and think about how they can get better while having fun. 

Get Involved 

Children spend a huge chunk of time at school with other adults and kids who will help them develop thoughts and independence. Don’t be afraid to contact their school to make sure that your child’s needs are being met.

If you feel that your school is not meeting your needs, look for other education options that will help your child reach their full potential. Pear Tree School provides project-based learning and real-life skills that are incredibly valuable to a child’s development. 

Help Your Child Today

To promote independent thought in children it is essential to allow them to grow and make their own mistakes. This article is just the beginning of what it takes to ensure that your child is equipped with the tools for critical thinking. 

We all want to give our children life skills and a chance at an education that is greater than memorizing exams and curriculum. Contact us today to join our exceptional teaching programs.