Many parents would like to think that their child is smart or will grow up to be smart and successful in some capacity. While a person’s IQ largely depends on genetics and nutrition, there are some things that you can do in order to help raise a smart child. Exposing your child to new things, expanding their minds and their areas of interest, allowing them to have new and exciting experiences, and a wealth of other things, if encouraged early on in life, can help you raise a child with a love for learning.
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Make reading and music a part of their lives. Reading is an essential skill, and learning to read can allow kids to learn a plethora of other things. Reading comprehension skills are great for understanding abstract concepts that can help push the limits of your child’s mind as well as their imagination. Learning to read and play music also has similar capabilities, and studies have shown that children who play instruments generally perform better academically as well.
Make math part of the conversation. Math can be a difficult topic to weave into everyday life, but it can be easier than you think. If your child is familiar with basic math concepts like addition and subtraction, especially in everyday, applicable formats, it will be much easier for them to pick up on the subject when it is taught to them formally in school. Even saying things as simple as “we’ll eat breakfast in five minutes” or pointing out and asking kids to count the things that they see daily can help condition their mind to notice patterns and compute information that is conducive to understanding math and similar concepts.
Bring out the blocks, puzzles and board games. These sorts of toys are great, both for parents as well as for kids. For parents, blocks and other puzzle-like games can help keep kids quiet and occupied, but these sorts of activities are great for teaching kids how to use their minds and develop strong problem-solving skills. These games also teach kids a lot about spacial reasoning and cognitive skills.
Limit the rules. As a parent, you will certainly need to set some guidelines for behavior, but it is important that you do not stifle your child as a person, either. Enforcing too many rules can be more stressful than you think, even if you think you are helping your child. Make sure that they are safe, but allowing children to have experiences, to make mistakes and to think independently will do more for their overall personal development than giving them a strict, regimented lifestyle would.
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Let them be bored.You may feel like you’re doing something wrong if your child complains of boredom, but a parent’s job is not one of an entertainer. Allowing kids to be bored forces them to use their minds, it allows for them to be creative and self-sufficient, even if it only happens after a considerable amount of complaining.
Stay crafty.Speaking of boredom, keeping a variety of different things around the house for them to play with, experiment with and explore can help boost their creative abilities, as well as their motor skills. With craft supplies in abundance, kids can bring things to life with their imagination and ingenuity. Even if your child is not inherently artistic, crafts can help develop fine motor skills and allows for kids to be creative regardless of skill.
Ask them questions. Parents may be more used to answering questions than asking them, but asking your children a variety of different things can help encourage them to solve problems on their own. When a ball gets stuck or your child cannot reach something that they want, ask them if they can come up with ways to retrieve the item themselves. Even if you end up fulfilling their request, asking your kids questions like these can help bolster their problem solving skills and their ability to think outside the box. You can also ask questions when they learn new things or read a new book, which can help boost their memory and help them retain new information as well.
Encourage them to take risks… and fail. This can be difficult for parents to do in practice, but it is important that children learn lessons like these. Kids should be confident enough to follow their dreams, but it is also important for them to learn from their mistakes as well. Not only will this help children grow emotionally in a significant and personal way, but it will also help drive them even more when they get back up and follow their dreams again. Parents who coddle or hover over their children, protecting them from even the most minor hurts and inconveniences are not actually helping their child, even if they feel they are. Doing so will not prepare children to be the independent individuals that they need to be as functioning adults. Hence, they will not be able to deal with failure, whether big or small, or taking these fallbacks too personally and not believing that they are fallible at all.
Stay positive. Aside from big dreams and potential mistakes, staying positive through it all can help your child get through it. Encourage them to go after new things, let them pursue new interests and ask questions without fear of reproach. Being open and honest with your kids can help create a positive atmosphere that allows them to be themselves, to explore, and to trust in you when they need you.