It’s tempting to think that our children are either born with a high degree of intelligence or they aren’t, and that as parents, we have little control over how smart they become.
However, research has revealed that when it comes to intelligence, nature vs. nurture is approximately 50/50, which means that parental influence can’t have a significant impact not just on how clever our children believe they are, but also on how bright they are.
That doesn’t imply you should start teaching your kids math exercises and other languages as soon as they’re out of diapers.
Instead than celebrating a child’s intrinsic wit or talent, focus on behaviors that encourage a developing mind and intellect. Yes, you can cultivate intelligence in your children, and here are nine strategies to get started.
Communicate With Them From The Beginning
Talking to your children, especially if they are infants, is essential for starting those mental wheels going.
Even if your children are too young to understand what you’re saying or to understand what the sophisticated terms you’re using imply, with enough repetition, they’ll figure it out.
Asking your children open-ended questions will also help them develop views and a sense of self, as well as letting them know that their opinions and uniqueness are valued.
Start Reading Books With Them Early
Reading ability is a strong predictor of academic performance, so begin reading to your children long before they understand what the words mean.
Reading stimulates the brain, expands one’s world knowledge, and serves as the foundation for all future learning, including math and science.
Make sure books are readily available in your home, model excellent reading habits by reading frequently in front of your child, and chat to your children about what you’re both reading to improve conversational and reading comprehension abilities.
Teach Them to Solve Problems By Thinking Through Them
Don’t take care of your children’s problems. Instead, encourage them to concentrate on a single objective or problem and use creative thinking to attain or solve it. This act stimulates the brain while also teaching children that they are capable of overcoming challenges on their own.
Appreciate Their Work and Outcomes
We live in a culture where participation prizes abound, yet instilling in children the belief that they are always and naturally the greatest at everything makes it difficult for them to accept life’s inevitable setbacks and disappointments.
Instead of praising their innate qualities, commend their efforts and hard work. As a result, children will be more motivated and capable of progressing when faced with a skill that they do not naturally possess.
When children are informed that they are inherently gifted or intelligent, they are more likely to become upset and give up when faced with challenging tasks.
Establish Expectations Early
Don’t become a drill sergeant — “You will get an A on every single test” — but by setting some overarching goals for your children from a young age (e.g., graduating from college, participating in extracurricular, or volunteering), they’ll be more likely to see those goals as important and attainable.
Encourage Them to Exercise
Physical activity not only makes your child stronger and healthier, but it also provides mental benefits, such as increasing blood flow to the brain and growing brain cells.
Look for Opportunities to Teach
Simply encouraging your children to exercise their brains in their spare time will help them develop mental acuity. In the grocery store, have them count limes, start a talk about wind energy when they see a windmill, or look for letters or numbers on road signs.
Instill a Growth Mindset in Them
Encourage your children to view learning as a process in which hard work yields results; they will begin as novices but improve with time. Then, when they’re confronted with difficult jobs, they’ll see them as opportunities for growth rather than failures for not being specialists right away.
Encourage Investigation and Curiosity
Preschoolers are inherently curious, but that curiosity might fade as they get older if it isn’t cultivated and fostered. Begin by involving them in issues that they are personally interested in, even whether it involves their favorite YouTube star or a collection of action figures.
To start a conversation, ask questions and share your own hobbies, explaining why they appeal to you. You can also organize activities such as visits to museums, athletic events, or the cinema to help you discover common interests and spark new conversations.
Be Proactive in Your Approaches
Don’t wait for your children to be presented with new learning chances. Look for extracurricular activities that can help you build other brain muscles outside of school.