It’s a mad, mad world out there, and it’s getting more competitive every day. Every parent aspires to give their children that certain edge so that they’ll succeed in society, school, and ultimately in all aspects of their lives. Fortunately, most of the factors that influence a child’s intellectual and social development don’t depend on excessive amounts of disposable income or fancy learning tools. Check out these seven simple ways to grow your own geniuses.
Talk To Them
Children who are engaged in family conversations are soaking up the nuances of language, even when they’re pre-verbal. Make a point of asking older children questions that require more than a yes/no answer in order to stimulate their reasoning and verbal skills.
Read To Them
Research has shown that access to books, and having regular reading time with a parent, is a dependable predictor of future academic success. Reading to children builds vocabulary, comprehension, and expands a child’s knowledge of the wider world.
Teach Them Healthy Living
Regular exercise and healthy eating have both body and brain benefits. A Temple University study showed that overweight children score lower on national reading tests than normal weight children. The authors of the report speculate that a sedentary lifestyle and too much time in front of the TV might be the root cause. Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise can increase executive brain functions such as organization, planning, and impulse control.
One of life’s hard truths is that not everyone finishes in first place. Praising the time, energy, and work that a child spends driving toward a goal, even if it’s just Tuesday night’s math homework, teaches a child that success isn’t always easy, failure is just a stepping stone, and what is most deserving of praise is determination, persistence, and hard work.
Encourage Their Passions
Studies have shown that curiosity can wane after a child enters her school-age years. Perhaps your daughter is obsessed with baseball cards, collecting varieties of local seashells, or knitting patterns. Encourage her interest in whatever moves her, no matter how odd or non-academic, in order to keep the flame of curiosity alive.
Teach Them Impulse Control
The famous marshmallow study showed that children who can resist an immediate reward in favor of a better one in the near future tend to score higher on standardized tests, avoid addiction issues, and generally do better later in life. Check out these tips on how to encourage self-control in your own children.
Continually Expand Their World
As your children grow, encourage them to explore multiple disciplines. Studies have shown that children who learn a second language do significantly better on the SATs than those who don’t. Similar benefits exist for children who study a musical instrument. Sports, dance, theater, and community involvement nurture social and intellectual maturity in a growing child.