All parents want to raise smart kids.
You must have heard their comments on how their children performed on tests. Their chatter is non-stop.
All parents have the futures of their little ones in mind, so they do all they can to give them the physical and mental stimulation they need. But do they have what it takes to raise intelligent children?
A 45-year study has suggestions on what parents can do to nurture bright children. If you are a parent, you could benefit from a few tips. In addition, it would help to debunk a few myths.
Why it is hard to raise smart kids
Like it or not, the reality is that raising smart kids is no walk in the park. The obstacles are many, and the solutions few.
First of all, there are many conflicting opinions on raising children. Well-meaning relatives will contradict each other. While your mother may say ‘Let him drink this soup because it nourishes the brain,‘ your mother-in-law may throw it out when she sees it. Each tries to sway your thinking, so you become caught in the middle.
Next, the difficulties of discipline stand in the way. Kids have a short attention span and will rebel when told to focus on their homework for too long.
In addition to these, there are other distractions. Your child probably finds television and their favorite mobile devices hard to resist. For them, work will never trump play.
Finally, children have varied interests. It is hard to help them if they refuse to study the subjects that put them off. Finding ways to help a stubborn child focus on their pet hates is always a dilemma.
Study on Mathematically Precocious Youth by Julian C. Stanley
What are the needs of mentally exceptional children? This question plays on many parents’ minds.
A 45-year study by Julian C. Stanley has the answer. His research aimed to find out what children needed for academic success. He and his fellow researchers conducted talent searches for mathematically precocious youth up to age 13. They identified them over a 25-year period. The study also followed their careers and achievements. It is now in its 45th year.
Information from the study reveals that aptitude matters more to success in skill learning than repetition. Innate intelligence also matters more than social status.
What can parents gain from this study? It is wise to let a child pursue their interests because they stand the best chance at success. Allowing them to develop their passions is better than forcing them to study subjects that they dislike.
Other Things Parents Should Do to Raise Smart Kids
There are many things you can do to raise smart kids, besides having a sense of their aptitudes and interests.
1. Give Your Child a Head Start
First of all, parents should become staunch supporters of Early Childhood Development. According to Ronald Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap at Harvard University, learning should begin from infancy. He recommends that parents introduce number games, rhythm, and three-dimensional concepts.
Next, read books to your children from an early age. Reading should begin from infancy so that children grow up with a love of learning.
And then, early childhood experts recommend that parents talk to their babies. Converse with them to build up their oral communication skills.
4. Buy less expensive toys.
In addition, the best toys for your child are not necessarily the most expensive ones. Use simple toys because doing so will develop their resourcefulness and creativity.
5. Emphasize Play
Furthermore, play is the best way to nurture smart kids. It is a foundation for intellectual, motor, emotional, and social skills. Playing gives your child the chance to interact with others and learn from their experiences.
Also, get your child to keep fit because it nurtures them holistically. It develops not only their motor skills but also their mental ones. Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain and improves their mental capabilities.
7. Problem-solving and creativity
Develop your child’s creativity, because it goes together with their problem-solving skills. Lead your child to think out of the box. Any activity that encourages them to stretch their imagination is bound to make them smart.
Allow your child to listen to music because it boosts their enthusiasm, attention, and learning. The Brain and Creativity Institute conducted a study of children over five years. It compared children who played the violin with those who did not. Those who learned it showed a faster rate of maturity than their peers.
Myths about Parenting
All parents want to raise smart kids, so they take it whatever information they can on the subject. Unfortunately, not all of it is correct. Here are a few myths about raising gifted children that you should debunk.
First of all, many parents believe that intelligence is in the genes, so they resign themselves to fate. In fact, a child’s cleverness depends on his environment and circumstances.
Next, many parents believe that children learn to read themselves, so they fail to teach them the skill. The truth is that children develop reading skills. Teaching it to them from an early age helps them to close literacy gaps.
And then, many parents believe that kids need praise for their intelligence. Praising them too much, however, causes them to take it for granted. They may end up becoming arrogant, unrealistic and denying their deficiencies.
Lastly, there is a belief that letting children watch thought-provoking content can make them intelligent. Educational videos make successful products because parents believe they enhance intelligence. Experts believe the opposite; watching too many videos may delay a child’s mental development.
In all, there is no simple formula for raising smart kids. Love and patience, however, give parents the best chance at success.