We all want our children to do well – to become something great and lead happy and healthy lives. Intelligence in a child has its advantages but having a truly smart kid isn’t all about getting good grades at school.
It’s becoming more and more clear that intelligence is no longer black and white. Using IQ tests to find out how intelligent someone is has been long thought of as a measure to how smart someone is academically and a score of over 100 is worn with a sense of pride. But many studies are fast showing that cognitive and emotional intelligence are just as varied and important – a brain surgeon and an artist can therefore ideally be looked at as being on the same level.
The way parents interact with their child has a huge influence on how a child develops and how smart they become. Allowing your children to be “life smart” and preparing them for their path into the independent world is one of the greatest achievements you can make as a parent.
The overall key as a parent is to focus on the process rather than the intelligence and talent that a child possesses. In other words, it’s all about the journey and sense of achievement that needs to be cultivated rather than praise once a child has completed something. This encourages a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset and will help your child understand the importance of the effort they’ve put in rather than the end goal. Psychiatrist Joe Brewster, believes that a child should be encouraged to see learning as the process of becoming better at something, instead of having a fixed mindset of his intelligence.
With that in mind, here are just a handful of ways to encourage your child to be more aware and, in turn, help you to raise smart kids.
1. How You Respond To Your Child
The way in which you respond to your child through various situations largely determines how they assess their range of experiences. For example, if you react in an indifferent or restrictive way, this could discourage your child from wanting to try new things and cause them to learn to be too cautious and therefore limiting their personal experiences. Instead, encourage your child by asking open-ended questions creating, a space for them to think about actions and awareness of those around them. If they are misbehaving, then try to change their perspectives on the situation by getting them to think about how their actions have affected you and others involved.
Smart kids are those that get the chance to see another point of view and develop their sense of awareness.
2. Raise Smart Kids By Limiting The Amount Of Rules
Think about the rules you put into place and whether any of them are really necessary. Research has found that the number of family rules affects kids’ creativity and those families that have, on average, six family rules have children of average performance at school.
Further studies have found that the most creative architects in the U.S. were encouraged by their parents to develop their own moral rules without any restrictive family rules being enforced. The idea is that a child can develop a sense of right and wrong from sources other than their parents. This allows them to develop more creative personalities and intelligence. The author of the study defines creativity as the following:
Personality characteristics of creative individuals includes broad intelligence, openness to experience, aesthetic sensitivity, autonomy in thought and action and the pursuit of new challenges and solutions, curious, self-assertive, high achiever, self-critical , self-sufficient, intuitive and empathic, emotional sensitivity, imagination, ambition and dominance, self-acceptance, dominance, self-confidence, acceptance of unusual views as their personality characteristics.
Enforcing too many rules curbs a child’s sense of creativity and overall development of intelligence. Making sure there are less rules gives your child more time to engage in open-end, free-flowing activities and stops them from being micromanaged and constantly corrected. Of course, children do need important rules but limiting the amount will benefit their long-term intellectual growth.
3. Allow Your Kids To Be Bored
Boredom is usually seen as a negative thing, after all, surely you should be stimulating your child’s sense of creativity at every opportunity for them to be creative? Well, boredom isn’t all that bad – it actually helps a child encourage their ability to think. Quiet reflection is something that adds to a different perspective and gives the mind space to think up and create activities. Don’t always feel like you have to find them something to do in case you’re not doing enough to accommodate their learning. Boredom, in and of itself, is a time for their brains to develop and become more creative.
4. Let Your Kids See You Doing Smart Stuff
Kids pick up on all sorts of things, especially your own actions. Learning from adult behaviour is one of the major ways a child picks up habits and makes sense of the world. If your child sees you engaged in reading, writing, or anything creative, it will cause them to imitate you and become smarter in the process.
It’s also important to let your children hear you talk about achievements from hard work. As I mentioned earlier focusing on intelligent achievements, both theirs and your own, will give a clear signal that will create a fixed mindset and a fixed mindset can lead to a fragile and defensive child in the long-run. Instead, when you speak, emphasise praise for hard work and focus rather than too much on the end result.
5. Encourage Your Kids To Take Risks And Fail
Although we have a natural tendency to protect our children from feeling upset, allowing your child to take risks and failing will teach them fundamental life skills from an early age. Without experiencing failure early on, a child can develop low self-esteem and get discouraged from creating and learning for themselves. Fear is probably the number one emotion in our lives that can stop us from taking great actions. If we encourage our children to experience failure when they are small, the amount of fear they develop will lessen.
Teaching a child that failure is not actually a bad thing is a great life-skill that will allow them to make smart decisions and learn from life’s ups and downs. At the end of the day, children need to feel emotions to understand them and protecting your child from them will only stunt their ability to adapt and make sense of the world.
6. Make Reading And Music A Part Of Your Child’s Life
Reading may be an obvious one to excel your child’s intelligence but not only does it help them to read but it also develops your child’s appetite for knowledge. It allows their brain to process situations, creating further perspective and sparks imagination that can benefit all areas of their life. Their thirst for knowledge will develop rapidly if exposed to different topics and ideas and again making connections to the world around them.
Music can pose so many amazing effects on a child’s brain. Many studies have shown that getting a child to listen to music not only boosts attention, motivation, learning and memory skills but also lowers stress. Stress can have a detrimental effect on how the young brain operates – not something you want at such a crucial time in development. Learning a musical instrument is also great as it targets the brain’s proportional thinking and spatial temporal reasoning so raise smart kids the creative way and pave for well-rounded, life-smart children.
By Jenny marchal