We all want our kids to grow up happy and healthy, and of course, that is the number one priority. However, number two for many parents is that they will be smart, get lots of qualifications, and be successful. In this article, we will outline 7 parenting tips on how to raise a smart child.
1. Give them experiences, not possessions
Many of use worry that we are raising kids that are too materialistic. There is a growing trend of minimalism, and appreciating the value of owning less and doing more. Likewise, studies have shown that there is a direct link between the number of possessions that somebody has and their levels of anxiety. Thus, if you want to foster personal growth in your child, how them the value of experiences (watching the sunset, visiting a museum, eating a dish from another country) rather than material possessions.
2. Unlock their mind through reading
Reading is truly a way to explore the world, yourself and ideas. As Stephen King said, books are ‘uniquely portable magic’. If you foster this belief in your children from an early age by reading to them, there is nothing that they cannot do: explore the jungles with Kipling, go down the Rabbit hole with Alice or ask Dickens why society was so unjust. Reading is a way that your child can unlock their intellectual potential, and also their self.
3. Music can open their mind
It is no coincidence that music is utilized by many religions and spiritual practices in order to get closer to the divine. Music can be a profound force of self-improvement, and some studies show that music can even increase IQ, particularly classical music. Therefore, if you give your child the opportunity to be musical, for example by teaching them an instrument, they will grow as a person whilst also nurturing their intellect.
4. Don’t stifle them
Freedom v boundaries. This is possibly one of the biggest worries that parents have. They need both. Your children may ask questions like ‘why does x happen and y not’, or they may say things that shock you or that you disagree with. You need to, whilst not always agreeing with them, encourage them to explore ideas and test things out in a safe environment. In this way, they will grow as thinkers and as people, and their general frame of reference will be larger. We do realize though that this is difficult for parents, as it is for educators in general.
5. Don’t give them too much freedom
Children, people, beings; they all need boundaries. If you are to raise a smart child, there has to be some element of discipline in their behavior. For example, if their language skills are to improve, they need to set an hour aside a day to read. If they want to get better at math, they need to do their sums after dinner. If you encourage routines and bring in some boundaries, you will give them the opportunity to grow and develop.
6. Make them mindful
Mindfulness is all the rage, and no wonder. Research has shown that mindfulness is so powerful that it can actually change the structure of your brain, and it can also change your thought processes and your life. There is also a growing mindfulness-for-kids’ movement, which says that it could help make your kids smarter and more well-rounded people. According to experts in mindfulness, it is particularly appropriate for children because they have flexible minds.
7. Use technology appropriately
For parents, technology is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it can allow your children to experience educational opportunities that would never have been available to them in the past. On the other hand, the internet is replete with dangers. One way in which you could raise a smart child is by teaching them, or allowing them to learn, coding. Coding has many intellectual benefits for kids, and it can also allow them to improve themselves through exercising their creativity, as coding is about creating something from nothing, which will really boost your kid’s motivation and confidence.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list, and many things about parenting (and unfortunately life in general!) are down to chance, genetics, and other variables. However, if you do the above, you are helping to give your child the best start in life, particularly in relation to their education.