Parenthood comes with a lot of responsibilities and investments we make in hopes of return – a well-adjusted, loving child and a good, responsible and successful adult in the future. Many ambitious parents also hope for a little genius running around the house, but this rarely happens by accident. It usually takes conscious efforts and few smart genes to do that. In addition, certain strategies and the application of a few secrets to raising smart kids can improve the outcome.
Once people thought intelligence was a matter of genetics, but modern science has proved that the environment the child grows in plays a huge role in the future development. It turns out you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to raise smart kids. There is no universal recipe, but there are several strategies proven to work in developing better abilities. How to have a little Einstein? Scientists still argue about the concept of being genius – IQ, emotional intelligence, academic achievement, or having imagination? Another answer could be the so-called executive function, or the child’s ability to resist distraction and the ability to adjust to change and think outside the box. However, there are some simple things the parents can do to boost kids’ intelligence and give them a better chance to become genius.
Breastfeeding for at least a year
According to geneticist Ricki Lewis, the first thing a woman can do is to breast feed, because human milk has a greater percentage of fat than cow’s milk. Fat is needed to insulate the abundant brain cells and the protein in milk is needed for fast growth. A study on women and their children in Belorussia showed that 6-year-olds who were exclusive breastfed for a longer period of time as babies had on average, 5 percent higher IQ than kids who were fed with other foods and liquids, too. Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter says that a baby is born with 100 billion neurons and during the first years of life some are left to wither. Around 50 percent of neurons do not survive until adulthood.
Cutting TV time
Doctors say that watching television in early age harm cognitive skills and wastes crucial time for brain development. Instead, kids should spend more time communicating with real people, developing their language and using more of the brain neurons for discovering and studying the real world. Don’t make your children memorize all kinds of things – playing games will teach them a lot more.
Many studies have found connection between musical skills, language skills, and IQ. Kids, who play the piano, or another stringed instrument, score around 15 percent higher on verbal skills tests, IQ, math, and literacy tests. Music itself won’t make your child a genius, but it will have an effect on how the brain “gets wired” when it comes to memory and attention. In other words, enrolling in a local piano lesson would in fact be a real brain workout.
Self-control and executive function
Scientists say that the ability to switch between tasks and hold different things and thoughts in your working memory is much more related to actual success than IQ. The ability to block impulses or having self-control is also an important part of executive function. So, teach your child to be patient, conscious and to control their inner desires, fears and impulses.
- Read more: Longtime Benefits from Early Music Lessons
Provide a large library and a great variety of books, genres, and authors
Success in school doesn’t depend on simply native intelligence, but requires a good work ethic. The more a child reads, the more he or she will be interested in many different subjects. And make sure kids realize reading is interesting and enjoyable by demonstrating them yourself.
- Read more here: Why Reading Lists are Important and Where to Find Them
Proper nutrition and love
Doctors say that nutrition begins in pre-natal period, and then breastfeeding becomes crucial because it not only provides all the needed nutrients, but also promotes a greater and warmer connection between mother and the child. This is the first step to developing emotional intelligence which is said to be just as important as IQ. This is the ability to react properly in different social settings and situations. High IQ without good social skills rarely contributes to real success, because team work and team effort are very important in real life. Everyday games and activities such as building a sand fort or going to the supermarket can push learning and emotional intelligence because they happen to be social and meaningful.
There are many other ways to help your children be smarter such preventing them from being overweight and showing them the importance of regular physical activity. Children of younger parents with higher degree of education are also believed to have higher IQ. Studying foreign languages or being bilingual means that your kid is probably to score around 15 percent more on SAT tests. Another activity which will increase the volume of grey matter in younger kids is learning how to juggle. And it’s also a real fun!
- Read more: How to Raise a Confident Child