Make your kid a smarty pants!

There are many advantages to having a smart kid. A kid who is brainy and smart does well in school, gets scholarships and also goes way further in life in this competitive world. Smart kids also make their parents proud! You can never know if your kid will end up a scientist or an inventor, or someone who can someday help solve some of the world’s serious problems. If raising a smart kid is what you have planned, then starting as early as possible is the key!

During the first ten years of a child’s life, the brain is the most active and malleable as it will ever be, forming trillions of connections, gathering information and learning new skills. With each new skill, whether it’s building a model airplane or learning a new language, the brain develops important connections that influence other abilities, like math and motor skills or the ability to empathise and communicate effectively with other kids.

Intelligence is 49 percent genetic and 51 percent stimulation. Experts agree that, if anything, environment, in other words parental influence, has the edge. Although it is widely assumed that smart kids are born smart, the following has been observed over and over again:

You think a child will be a high-achiever and it does not happen.
A child who has been written off as hopeless achieves tremendous things.

Read on for easy ways to turn your little one into a little wiz!



1 Pay attention!

Observe your child and know his or her interests. Is it music, animals, mythology or even a particular sport? How does your child respond to new material? Does he or she enjoy drawing, story-telling, dancing, or maybe clay modelling? Ideally, as parents, the idea is not so much to pre-select an ‘interest’ for your child, for chances are, its your preferences that will influence your selection. Instead, encourage your child to try, discover, experiment, and experience as much as possible. In other words, follow your child’s lead.

Knowing how your child responds to the world and makes sense of what is heard, felt and seen will help you be a better guide, especially when introducing or learning new concepts.

Smart kid home tip: As much as possible, expose your child to new activities, one that challenges him or her and stimulates the brains! Alternatively, help your child set up an imaginary business with a pretend product or invention. What would the store look like? This would also be a good opportunity to teach your child about money. Smart kid home tip: As much as possible, expose your child to new activities, one that challenges him or her and stimulates the brains! Alternatively, help your child set up an imaginary business with a pretend product or invention. What would the store look like? This would also be a good opportunity to teach your child about money.


2 Proper food habits for a healthy body and smart brain

Only in a sound body will there be a sound mind, hence good nutrition is crucial if a child were to have a good chance of reaching his or her potentials. Make an effort to prepare meals which include brain-building nutrients like essential fatty acids, high-quality protein, iron and also vitamins. Keep healthy food and snacks readily available in the house. Put fruits like apples and oranges out on the table or kitchen counter and not hidden away in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Likewise, don’t waste money on kids’ muesli bars if you’re going to stash them away from sight in the pantry somewhere.
Enjoying healthy food in front of your children is one sure-fire way to get them on the right track to healthy eating habits. Never allow a child to skip breakfast. Proper food habits will help your child live healthy and smart.


3 Read, read, read!

Reading is the foundation of all learning and will enable a child to absorb and apply content from all areas, including math and science. Research has shown not once but many times that access to books and one-on-one reading time is a predictor of academic success. The act of reading stimulates the brain to make the necessary connections and builds background knowledge about the world. Parents who model good reading habits may have a winning edge on raising smarter kids. TIP: Invite your child to cozy up on the couch with you to read. Keep books readily available in baskets, on reachable shelves, and on coffee tables. Share what you’re reading with your child, and ask him to do the same. This will not only spark meaningful conversation but build vocabulary and comprehension.

Also Read:  Do Not Harm Your Baby In The Name Of Love!


4 Recognise and seize teachable moments

Opportunities to teach your kid to be sharper and more attentive comes by more often than you think, it’s just that you may not have been seizing them. For instance, if a fire engine passes by you on the road, instead of just exclaiming, “Hey look, a fire engine!” you can try to build on knowledge and information by asking “Where do you think its going in such a hurry?” or “Do you know why we have to give way for it?” A simple grocery shopping trip can be a chance to build vocabulary, math skills, and money sense. Tell your kid the names of fruits as you bag them. Ask your child to help you find four packets of pet food. Have an older child help write down the grocery list. Older kids can also compare prices and sizes, and sort coupons.


5 Celebrate curiosity

Children, especially those of pre-school age, reek with curiosity but most lose that as they get older. Keep things exciting by recognising and honing what interests them. If you ask questions about what they’re playing with or talking about, you’re actually initiating productive conversations that will pay off in a smarter kid. Your child will ask questions. They will also be more likely to look for more good stuff to share in return. Take time to turn your kid on to stimulating and educational stuff: Check out the zoo, visit the museum or watch an interesting show together. Afterwards, do tell your child what you like about it and why, and don’t forget to get their opinions too! This will boost your kid’s confidence and build up eagerness to learn more.


6 Exercise for increased aptitude and better personality

Various researches have concluded that fitter, more active children performed better academically. Besides the physiological benefits of improved oxygen intake, blood flow, immune motivation, and neural transmission, there was also a psychological and sociological component attached to an active body too. Psychologically, fitter children showed higher self-esteem. Sociologically, those who participated in planned sports displayed more assurance, more cooperation and spontaneity in leadership.


7 Some video games do enhance mental acuity.

A study by the University of Rochester found that certain video games improved sensory perception, strategic thinking, and planning ahead of time. These kind of video games can reap positive mental improvements. Ensure that a game features educational element and is capable of improving motor skills and enhance memory and perception. Check out the following:

An in-depth civilisation-building simulation game, appropriate for kids 10 and above which encourages decision-making, planning, diplomacy, strategy and exploration.

Professor Layton Series
Available for the Nintendo DS and aimed at kids ages 10 and older. Complete puzzles that teach problem-solving, math, spatial orientation, logic and more.

Dora The Explorer
Just like the TV show, the game features Dora and her friends on an adventure with an ultimate goal of learning new things. Follow maps, solve problems, learn new words and facts.

Made for Sony PlayStation 3, kids can build their own worlds and manipulate everything in them, developing logic, problem- solving and spatial orientation skills in the process. Appropriate for kids 7 and above.

Reader Rabbit
Helps in developing language arts, science, problem-solving and math skills by playing fun, engaging mini games suitable for a variety of skill levels. Kids can learn counting and money skills, hone addition skills, develop spelling skills and recognise shapes with this educational game series.

Don’t tell them they’re smart
You read right. Don’t! Praises towards intelligence are more likely to encourage a fixed albeit backfiring mind-set compared to a pat on the back for effort. One study in the 90s involving several hundred 10-year-olds pointed this out. The children were given IQ tests which most did fairly well. Some were praised for their intelligence while the others were praised for their efforts. The results showed the kids who were praised for their intelligence shied away from more challenging assignments after that, while the ones praised for their efforts and hard work wanted more difficult problems to work with. Simply put, instead of pouring out remarks like ”Wow, great job, you are so smart!”, try instead “Wow, great job, you must have worked really hard on it!”


Written By
More from Vincent Lim

Thumb-sucking (& finger nibbling!)

There’s hope yet. To most of us, there is nothing cuter than...
Read More