Have you ever used the GPS while driving your car? Imagine that the GPS indicates you take a right and then go straight for half a mile. However, as soon as you take a right, you realize there is a lake in front of you. What do you do? You will obviously turn your car and look for another road. This is a very simple example of logical thinking we use in our daily life.
Logical thinking in simple terms is the capacity to make a rational judgment by analyzing a situation. Children who have strong logical thinking skills are much more successful at school & play since they can establish cause and effect relations.
Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist suggests that all children move through four different stages of learning:
• Sensorimotor stage: Birth to 2 years
• Preoperational stage: Ages 2 to 7
• Concrete operational stage: Ages 7 to 11
• Formal operational stage: Ages 12 and up
During these four stages children go through varied levels of understanding, reasoning, and reacting. Although we may not realize it, children in the concrete operational stage are good at the use of inductive logic. An example of inductive logic would be, your child noticing that each time she gets wet in the rain, she has a cold. Thus, concluding that cold weather does not suit her well!
Related Article: Can we teach children ‘How’ to think?
Logical Thinking can be honed if we take a little extra effort. Some quick tips for parents:
Encourage brain teasers and puzzles
Brain teasers and puzzles force children to think strategically and logically. Children & adults alike, have had exposure to crosswords, sudoku, word grids and other traditional puzzle formats for decades. Ideally, puzzles should be age appropriate and even customized in level of difficulty, so children do not give up. Children should be able to decipher and apply their minds to solve, moving on to increasing complexity!
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Socialize With Others
Encourage children to make new friends at school, in the neighbourhood, or at the park. Socializing helps build new relationships & open up their mind to new possibilities. Your child may have a different way of playing catch while your neighbor’s child may come up with an entirely new idea. This exchange of perspective enhances logical reasoning in children. There may even be a debate of the pros and cons of each style further strengthening logical arguments.
Cultivate creative hobbies and discover new skills
Developing a new skill requires creative thinking which naturally develops problem-solving abilities Learning a new instrument requires deep thought and concentration. During this process, your child will gain the ability to solve more problems with flexibility and ease.
You may notice that toddlers always ask ‘Why’. This tendency of questioning events decreases as children are growing up, mainly because they are familiar with the events happening around them. In such cases, you can start questioning your child so that she is forced to think. For example, why is the pot of water bubbling? Wait for her answer and remember to respect her response, even if it’s not correct. You can then explain them the concept of boiling in simple terms.
Make connections between past and present
Help your child make logical connections between daily events. For example, why does he have to carry a towel to the pool? Because the towel will help dry him off when he gets out of the pool. You can encourage older children to calculate time & distance so they can make better estimates. For example, your child is expected to be at his best friend’s birthday party at 6pm and you stay 3 miles away. At what time should he be ready to leave if it takes 10 minutes to cover one mile?
You can watch this in action here
Children are not merely passive recipients of knowledge. Children constantly investigate, question and experiment as they build their understanding of how the world works. Keeping them curious about the world around them can help quick thinking, better logic and smart decisions!
“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end”
– Leonard Nimoy