The word “smart” has mostly become a relative word; one that means different things to different people. For some people; smart means acing all school work and coming out top of the class, or it’s having a broad knowledge in almost every subject, or being intelligent enough to read in between the lines and understand people’s actions without necessarily getting an explanation. Whatever the definition, one thing is paramount, being smart is key, and it’s important to ensure that to the best of our ability, we cultivate this in our children.
For unification; Cambridge Dictionary describes smart as intelligent, or able to think quickly or intelligently in difficult situations.
7 Tips on Raising Smart Children
Tip #1: Teach them to Read Books
Alan Bennett said “a book is a device to ignite the imagination” and that basically sums it up. Books make us think, thinking births ideas and creativity and further knowledge from introspection…the list is endless. Teaching your children to love and read books is one of the best things you can give them as you will be nurturing their minds.
Tip #2: Talk to them
Not the one-way communication a lot of parents are accustomed to, two-way conversations. Have real discussions on topics/subjects they are aware of at their age or even higher. When I was little, my dad would read a book and then pass it to my sister and I. When we were done, he’d open conversations on it; what did you like? What did you hate? Best character? What did you think would have made it a better read?
This helps you as a parent know your children some more, but even more it helps your children get in touch with their thoughts and feelings while helping them with emotional development.
Tip #3: Give them the Ability to Make Decisions
It’s so important to allow children understand the essence of making their own choices and decisions. It allows them the ability to know they are responsible for charting their own course as well as nurturing strategic thinking. Allow them the ability to discover things for themselves and nurture their thinking process.
Tip #4: Nurture Social Skills
Teaching children social skills is one of the most underdeveloped traits in our society. You find too many adults who have social anxiety and are terribly afraid of talking to large groups, public speaking, having group discussions with strangers and even networking. Social skills for children starts with encouraging them to play with other children, ensuring they have opportunities to compete with their peers on a knowledge or activity based skill, putting them in clubs of their peer group etc. When your children interact widely, they get more comfortable with people, creating the foundation for their intellectual, social, physical and emotional skills. This also helps them learn to combine ideas and feelings with other children’s experiences and opinions.
Tip #5: Develop a Habit of Exercising
The best habits start early when there’s hardly a reason to object to it. It’s such a positive add to the all round well being of your children when you get them to start exercising early. What’s more, it also makes them smart! Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain and builds new brain cells. Exercise is good for adults’ mental sharpness, but it has a more long-lasting effect on children’s still-developing brain.
Tip #6: Create a Learning Opportunity with Every Game/Toy
For every time you buy a toy for your children, think long term. Buy toys that spark interest, curiosity, deep thinking. Choose toys that can be played more than one way – those that allow your child to have fun in various ways with the help of their imagination. Think board games, puzzles, lego… they really help with nurturing their minds.
Tip #7: Give them a Growth Mindset
As adults, we’re so quick to put things as success or failure when it really shouldn’t be black or white. We need to learn to see things as a process and then teach our children likewise. A failure at something isn’t the end of the thing, but rather a learning process of becoming better. So, when children fail at something, it’s the right time to ensure it is seen as an opportunity of growth, instead of despair.
Do you have other tips to help with raising really smart children? Share them with us! Also check out A-Z of parenting for more general tips on parenting.