We all like to think of our kids as being among the best and brightest. And there’s no doubt yours is. But while talent and intelligence are natural traits, they can be developed. Nurtured. Supported. And that takes both effort and time.
Recent research has shown that early childhood cognitive intelligence can have a significant impact on future life outcomes, including health, social status and self esteem. But it doesn’t occur overnight. While native intelligence may indeed turn out to be hereditary, a child’s ability to apply reason, logic and other necessary life skills can be cultivated.
How to raise a smart child?
One of the chief barriers to nurturing your child’s intelligence is, unsurprisingly, a lack of optimism. Optimism and its effect on both physical and mental health has long been noted by researchers. And while it’s natural for many to maintain a cynical attitude they mistakenly deem as “realistic”, the ultimate effect on a child can be downright devastating. So how do you go about raising a smart, hopeful and optimistic child?
1. Raise Expectations In Your Children
This isn’t just about raising the bar for your children. It’s about taking it to an entirely different level.
If they have a standard chore list, try gradually adding an extra task—at first, once a week. Than twice. Then daily. And additional tasks. As their chores multiply, so will their sense of what is demanded of them. And just how much they can achieve.
But the key here is gradually. Let their sense of accomplishment develop slowly and naturally. Their confidence and ambition will seem much more innate if you don’t try to burden them with a dozen impossible tasks all at once.
2. Let Your Child Create Their Own Solutions
You can’t allow yourself to do your child’s thinking for them. They need to be encouraged to think independently. And problem solving is a critical component of independent thought.
Encourage them to focus on an immediate goal or solution. You can nudge them gently towards numerous potential outcomes, if you must, but don’t indicate the easiest solution. Teach them methodically how logic and reason can overcome obstacles, and they’ll grow much more secure in their ability to solve problems creatively.
3. Encourage Creativity, Not Stagnation
Children are naturally curious, and that’s an incredibly positive thing. But their sense of curiosity tends to wane as they grow older. They become reliant on familiarity and comfort. And that reliance can frequently stagnate their natural inclinations and talent.
Engage them in frequent questions about their most recent fascination. Let them share their curiosity with you (and when it comes to sharing interests, that’s one topic preschoolers are frequently more than eager to share). Show as much excitement in their interests as they do.
Encourage them to follow their pursuits naturally, and you will be amazed how much information they can soak up when they follow their motivations.
4. Allow Your Kids To Take Risks
The key to reasonable risk taking is to encourage it with your oversight. Your kids look to you as a protector. If their knees can get scuffed up once in awhile, they should still feel secure you’ll be there with a bandage and some TLC.
Risk taking is fundamental to building experience, and that extends to learning as well. It helps create a more well-rounded sense of character in your child and encourages them to think outside their boundaries—as well as being aware of potential consequences. Both are critical to optimism and development, and should be nourished, not sheltered.
5. Keep The Books Open
Reading is, as the old slogan says, fundamental. And reading at an early age not only encourages a diversity in thought, but has been linked to higher intelligence later on in life.
Even if your children are too young to understand larger, polysyllabic words and phrases, get into the habit of reading to them at an early age. Encourage a love of books. Over time, those words and phrases will seem less mysterious and more familiar as their vocabulary and comprehension expands. And you’ll have them well on their way to one of the most valuable journeys they can have: The journey of learning.
While a child can be born with natural intelligence, there certainly are ways for parents to nurture and support the development of their children’s intellectual abilities and these are just some of them.
If you want to raise a smart kid, be sure to send them to a school that addresses not only their cognitive development, but also their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Choose Handprints Academy. Please feel free to give us a call for more information.