Published On: Mon, Oct 14th, 2013

Ten Easy Ways To Make Your Child Smarter

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

ten easy ways to make your child smarterThere’s not too many of us that aren’t interested in making our kids smarter. The problem is we make the mistake of believing it’s time consuming when in fact it can simply be a matter of making some things a part of their everyday.

Below I have listed ten very easy strategies you can implement to help increase your child’s intelligence. As you read through these I have no doubt that you will find you are already implementing some of these strategies. Take on board a few more, and you will be well on your way to increasing your child’s smarts.

1. Every time you ask your child to do something explain why. Too easy can we fall into the trap of jumping on our kids for so called back chatting. But parents who explain to kids why they want them to do something help to increase their understanding of living skills and consequence.

2.  Share your own experiences with your children. “When I was little like you I lost a favourite toy too and what I did was…”.  This helps to show your child that you went through similar experiences and that you are ok for having been through them. This helps them to understand that they too will be ok. I firmly believe this helps children to develop emotional intelligence. Be careful not to share serious adult problems with your child, as this can create unnecessary stress.

3.  Verbalise what you are doing. “I am looking for the fruit shop so I go left here, look for the sign that says Paul’s Fruit Shop, then find a park and make sure I take in my shopping list”.

4.  Encourage them to question and problem solve by sharing everyday living problems with them. Those flowers are too expense, I don’t have enough, what should I do? Reading also encourages questioning and provokes thought.

5.  Let them fail and highlight their successes. Failing leads to new improved ways of doing things. Highlighting success, leads to pursuit and further practise of that skill, after all, it feels great to be good at something and makes us want to become even better at it.

6.  It is debatable by some, but widespread research into fish oil has found that it can boost children’s brain power and maximise their cognitive abilities.

7.  Give them increasing responsibility. This ensures you are continuously opening up new challenges to them. With new challenges comes new skills.

8.  In 2010 researchers found that physical activity increased brain power, so ensure your kids are active on a regular basis. A great way to do this is to make physical activity part of their routine. Choosing physical extracurricular activities will help you here such as soccer, gymnastics, tennis or swimming, activities that get the child moving!

9.  Ensure your child has access to open ended toys as much as any other. Open ended play allows your child to develop “out of the box” thinking. These are toys such as dress ups, playdough, blocks and drawing activities.

10.  Share the world with them. Where are you taking them? What experiences are you exposing them to? Who are you  introducing them to?  While it cannot be totally controlled, parents play a big part in shaping their child’s environment, and this environment can certainly impact on their learning.

Psychologist Howard Gardner in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences released in 1983, rather than speaking of intelligence as logical and mathematical, his theory was there were different types of intelligence. The nine types of intelligence he found to be were:

1. Naturalistic, having a real connection with the environment.
2. Musical, having an ear for the musical arts.
3. Logical-Mathematical, can more easily recognise the relationships in patterns and numbers.
4. Existential, these kids are deeply philosophical and interested in life’s big questions.
5. Interpersonal, these are the kids who have a knack with getting along with everybody.
6. Bodily-Kinesthetic kids are graceful, co-ordinated and enjoy professions which allow them to use both mind and body.
7. Linguistic, these kids are word smart and love to read to learn.
8. Intra-Personal kids have a great understanding of themselves and are self motivated and great thinkers.
9. Then there’s Spatial intelligence. The highly creative kids, the great drawers and creative arts kids.
Read more about Howard Gardner Source Howard Gardner 1983 Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

What Gardner highlighted to the world is that you don’t need to be great at mathematics to be intelligent. This is a most refreshing theory compared to the focus on mathematics and logical thinking in the past. We MUST let our kids know there are different types of intelligence and that everybody is great at something. In fact, everybody is smart in their own intelligence area, it’s just working out which ones are yours.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2013
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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