The question one would ask is how do you raise smart children? or what does it really mean to be smart? Which leads to the bigger question “How to raise successful adults” because these smart children eventually leverage on this smartness to become successful adults. We all have varying definitions of the word smart or smart children. For some it can be one-dimensional, focused only on a child’s academic performance, that is, tied to a child coming first in class or getting all the awards. However, there is more to being smart than getting top grades in school.
This comment on Quora says, “That to be smart, you need to be capable of thinking intelligently on a consistent basis. This means that each of your views and decisions will, on the whole, be the result of a careful thought process. You will be able to make strong, rational arguments in order to justify your views and decisions”. I totally agree! Children should be raised to think intelligently and have strong views and arguments based on their thought process. This is being smart. This remains the fastest route to becoming a successful adult too.
We believe that every child is smart in their own way and it is the parents’ duty to nurture them to their full potentials and become all they are meant to be.
Here are 10 Ways to Raise Smart Children
1. Right from Birth
Read to babies, sing to them and prolong breastfeeding. Kindly breastfeed your baby as its long term effects cannot be overemphasized. Stimulating your baby’s brain starts right from when you are expecting baby and when your baby is still a newborn. The early years are an important time to stimulate the baby’s brain. Breast milk has also been researched over time to be nature’s gold and one of the best starts that baby can get.
2. Nutrition is Important
What children eat is important to help them grow healthy. This is not really a problem during the breastfeeding stage of life, but after the weaning process, this has to be carefully considered. Apart from the benefits of a balanced diet which enables them to be healthy and to fend off diseases, the right nutrition will encourage children to learn. Dehydration has been found to damage your ability to focus and recall information which negatively affects a child who is learning in school. Likewise, a child who does not start the day with a healthy breakfast would find it difficult to focus during the day, sugar rushes from packaged foods lead to sharp drops in concentration during the day, healthy home-made meals are the best. Some foods that are great for children include fish, leafy greens, oatmeal, eggs, adequate water, etc. READ: [Importance of Proper Nutrition For Your Child]
3. Encourage Reading
Reading is a great way for children to grow, to learn about the world around them and to explore. When a child learns and loves reading right from childhood this child will certainly grow up loving to read and having an opinion about the world. When your child reads, you should spend time discussing what the book is about, this way you are encouraging them to think about what they have read and to build the ability to summarize their thoughts. This will come in handy when they start doing book reports in school as well. It will also come in handy when
4. 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.
5. Encourage playing outside
Children are meant to be active and get around, reduce the couch potato syndrome and let your child play outside. If your child says he or she is bored, it is a great time to encourage them to come up with creative ways to entertain themselves. If children are constantly fed with what to do and what to think, it reduces the ability for them to come up with creative solutions. Creativity has created lots of successful adults of this generation. Encourage them to be bored sometimes – once my daughter said she was bored and I said “good, a great time to start writing a book” and she did.
6. Spend Quality Time
We cannot overemphasize the amount of quality time parents need to spend with their children. Talk to your children, not the one-way communication a lot of parents are accustomed to, have two-way conversations. Have real discussions on topics/subjects they are aware of at that age or even higher. It is during quality time together as a family that you build your bonds, communicate and share your values. When you know what your child is thinking and what their experiences are, then and only then can you as a parent shape their view of the world. Remember kids nowadays have access to news and external influences and it’s your job as parents to give them context to the content. READ: [7 Ways To Show Love To Our Children]
7. Coping Skills
Children must learn to cope with life, there are many things that we as parents would like to control but we cannot. So we need to raise children who are able to deal with life. Let them try their hands at different things, let them fail and teach them to get back up. We need to learn to see things as a process and then teach it to our children. A failure at something isn’t the end of the thing, but rather a learning process of becoming better at something, rather than having a fixed mindset of our prowess at the thing. Of course, protect them but do not over cuddle them such that they fail to learn from their own experiences. When children are overprotected they might be rudely shocked when they need to face real life.
8. 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 allowing them to play with other children, ensuring they have opportunities to compete with their peers on knowledge or activity-based skill, putting them in clubs of their peer group, etc. When your children interact more and more, they get continually comfortable with people, creating the foundation for their intellectual, social, physical and emotional skills. This also helps them learn to combine ideas, impressions, and feelings with other children’s experiences and opinions. These social skills help them develop into successful adults.
9. Smart Children are Smart Adults
Raise children with the end in mind, when you realize that smart children are not measured by their scores in school only then it affects your parenting blueprint. Raise your children with the adults you have in mind. What is your blueprint? An adult who is bold, kind, caring, has integrity, knows how to self-motivate themselves? etc. This list can be endless, now just raise them determined to have all the values they need. Values guaranteed to make them successful adults.
READ: [Raising Polite Children]
Yes, technology is here to stay and children who are able to interact with technology in the right way are able to learn in fresh ways, find solutions and be creative. However, guide your children in using the internet and operating in the digital world. There are so many learning opportunities on the internet and the ability to learn about any topic from the comfort of your home is amazing. Embrace the opportunities with them and help them further shape their world and thoughts.
Are you raising smart children? Are you expecting a turnout of smart and successful adults? Does your parenting model involve any of these?