How to Help Your Child Develop Better Thinking Skills

Developing Thinking SkillsUsing Questions to Help Kids Develop Better Thinking Skills


Guest post by Kids ‘R’ Kids

Early childcare researchers have learned a lot about the ways the brain functions in very young children. Many parents, as a result, want to help their child develop better thinking skills. Research has shown that one of the best ways to develop thinking skills is through the art of questioning.

There are different levels of questioning from the adult and also various responses from the child. It has been found, quite logically, that lower-level questions elicit lower-level responses. Higher-level questioning, on the other hand, tends to elicit higher-level thinking responses. Let’s discuss some of the differences between lower-level and higher-level questions and responses.

Simple questions include locating specific objects or people.  For example, while reading a book aloud, a parent might ask, “Can you show me where the cow is on this page?” A child can respond to such a question merely by pointing. The next level of questioning is remembering, according to child development and childcare experts.  This means that the child is asked to recall specific factual information.  For example, “What was the lady in the story wearing on her head?” The next higher level is organizing.  This type of questioning requires the child not only to remember but also, in his own words, to organize events in sequence.  For example, “What was the first thing that happened in this story?  What happened next? What came after that?”

The next level is predicting.  This requires the child to consider the known elements of the story and predict some unknown element.  For example, “What do you think will happen next?” The highest level of questioning is evaluating.  This requires the child to weigh alternatives.  For example, “Would you have acted in the same way as the boy in that story?  Why? Why not?”

To stimulate a child’s thinking, it is important to ask open-ended questions as young as preschool age for further elaboration (such as the ones below), rather than mere factual questions to which a child can give a “yes” or “no” answer.  Here are some different types of open-ended questions:

  • Which character in the story did they like best?
  • What are some of the things they like about that character?
  • Does the character remind her of someone they knows?  In what ways?
  • Ask the child to tell what happened in the story in their own words.
  • At some point during the story, pause to ask them to predict what they think might happen next.  Ask for their reasoning.

Actively involving the child in the reading of the story and personalizing the outcomes, will help to make storybook time more enjoyable.  Giving her an opportunity to react to the story as an active participant not only will add to her enjoyment but will also help her to develop higher level thinking skills.

Kids ‘R’ Kids believes that happy, loved, connected children are destined for success in every facet of their lives. Our most cherished principle, “Hug First, Then Teach,” defines every aspect of who we are at Kids ‘R’ Kids. When it comes to teaching, Kids ‘R’ Kids understands the importance of involving families with their child’s developmental milestones and accomplishments. We hope you will drop by for a tour at one of our 12 locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. You will find a list of our locations on


One thought on “How to Help Your Child Develop Better Thinking Skills

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *