Smart parents = smart kids, right?
… Well, not always.
The “intelligence genes” are absolutely rare. Therefore, it won’t be an understatement to claim that smartness is not a gift, but a skill that can be developed over a period of time. Since childhood is a crucial stage for the intellectual development of a child, it makes sense to help them grow smart from a very early age.
After some gruesome research spanning over 30 hours which required us to go through over 200 different references, we have come up with a whopping 101 ways to make our kids smarter. It’s an exhaustive list, and also links out to 120+ relevant external resources, so you might want to read it with popcorns by your side.
To make it easier for you to skim through it, we’ve also prepared an infographic which you can check out below.
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<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”https://bestforthekids.com/smarter-kids/” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://bestforthekids.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/making-kids-smarter.png” /></a><p style=”text-align: center;”>Infographic by <a href=”https://bestforthekids.com” target=”_blank”>bestforthekids.com</a></p>[/code]
Now that you have a basic idea about making your kids smarter from the infographic above, let’s get started with the explanations to each of the points mentioned in the infographic.
- Do not let them skip breakfast. Let’s start with an age-old advice. An empty stomach won’t take your kid too far. Without the fuel required to power-up the brain, the kid’s intellectual ability is bound to take a hit. By feeding them breakfast, you will be helping them stay focused and attentive. In other words, you will be breeding a smart kid.
- Teach them a second language. Being exposed to different languages makes them a better problem solver and it develops their cognitive skills as well. Persuade them to learn a foreign language, and you will start noticing the smart difference over a period of time.
- Enroll them in a music class. Now, they won’t turn into an overnight sensation, but their learning skills will surely elevate because music activates certain hardly used areas of the brain. The key is to develop both sides of the kid’s brain. The left side functions for language, reasoning, and logic, while the right side features art and creativity.
- Make them a bookworm. The more they read, the smarter they will get. Your best bet would be to fill their closets with great books so that they feel compelled to take the ride.
- Travel with them. There’s no better way to make them street smart than to let them travel places. Every trip will teach them valuable lessons on the go.
- Start early. Some skills can be best developed at an early age. By starting early, kids will get the best head-start they need to develop smartness.
- Support them at all times. Without your support, they would be half as smart as they should really be.
- Choose their toys wisely. Toys don’t have to be expensive. Toys should develop their imagination and creative skills.
- Love them. Kids who fail to receive TLC have stunted brain development, according to studies. Some kids also grow up depressed and dejected, leaving little to no room for smartness.
- Have one-on-one interaction with them. It reinforces their effort to communicate, and it provides them the foundation for higher thinking skills.
- Let them play. It develops social, cognitive, emotional, and even intellectual abilities. Playing also lets them be creative, expressive, and intelligent along the way. All study and no play can make a child street-dumb.
- Encourage them to work out. Exercise is essential for both physical and mental growth. It increases the blood flow to the brain and develops mental sharpness.
- Nourish their creativity. Let them participate in activities or contests that can foster their creativity. Introduce them to arts, literature, and other creative activities to make them the best version of themselves. A smart, creative kid may create something valuable for his/her generation down the road.
- Be a smart role model for your kids. Live healthy, focus on self-improvement, serve others, have self-control, and have a positive attitude towards life. So, walk the talk and set a good example for them.
- Limit their screen hours. This might be a hard sell for some parents. But, it’s important to limit screen hours to avoid setbacks in their mental development. Instead of feeling refreshed, we all feel drained after spending few hours in front of the television screen. Our eyes may hurt as well.
- Get them enough sleep. A sleep deprived child is bound to be less creative, less active, and even less smart. Those who wake up lethargic have trouble giving their best in all activities of life.
- Introduce them to safe computer games. For instance, video games improve hand-eye coordination. Moreover, kid-friendly games can teach them a lot about math, music, and other subjects while having fun on the go.
- Don’t overload their schedule. One activity after another at a stretch can wreck havoc in their lives. Just like adults, kids need some quiet moments to restore themselves from within. Just like we have digestive capacity, our mind can only take so much. So, don’t overload kids with activities. It can stunt their smartness.
- Let them take risks. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, isn’t it? So, let them spread their wings a little bit so that they can learn some valuable lessons on their own. There are some things in life that only experience can teach. By not letting them take calculated risks, we could be depriving them off creativity, learning, and smartness.
- Bribe them into mental growth. Sometimes, we have to use incentives as a part of the parenting tool to motivate them to learn some skills or to get better at studies. As long as bribery makes them a better person than yesterday, it’s an acceptable trade-off.
- Avoid micromanaging. It has been observed that micromanaging a child can backfire in a big way because it can stunt a child’s mental growth. Micromanaging can limit their ability to get creative and smart.
- Share your childhood memories. This will not only bring you guys closer, but will also help them improve their communication skills. Letting them learn some valuable lessons from your real life will make them a smarter person as well.
- Provide them a peaceful learning environment. Do you remember the day you fought with your parents on the way to the examination hall? You might not have fared well on that day because your focus and concentration had already taken a hit. So, provide them a nice and safe environment for academic success because a kid cannot thrive in a stressed household.
- Praise their results. It makes them feel good and proud about themselves. Even if they fail, motivate them to keep going. Remind them that they are almost there, and they need to keep trying to improve their chances of victory.
- Encourage them to be socially active. Many of the smart things in life can be learnt only by being socially active.
- Figure out their area of interests and lean into them. Pay attention to the activities they love to do in their free time. It will tell you a lot about their natural gifts. They are bound to make smart choices in their area of interest.
- Pick a school that cares. Enroll them in good schools that encourage love for learning and creativity.
- Encourage conversations at the dinner table so that they can express themselves. This is a good chance to get heads up on their concerns that might be stalling their smartness.
- Enroll them in preschool by the age of three. They would turn up smarter due to this early edge.
- Introduce smartphones and computers early on so that they stay on top of the game right from the beginning. Of course, the key over here is to maintain a balance. They should not be allowed to spend too much time on mobile phones and computers.
- Teach them the importance of hard work. We are not expecting them to be an investment banker by the age of 10, but they should be smart enough to know that money comes from hard work.
- Teach them business lessons early in life. Involve them in garage sale or take them to auction sales or help them sell ice-cream cones. Practical business lessons will make a huge difference in their lives down the road. They are bound to learn some smart tricks of the trade.
- Teach them to dial 911. They should be smart enough to handle emergencies.
- Teach them how to count money. Practice buying and selling with them by paying for household stuff.
- Teach them how to deal with bullies. Bullies can stunt your child’s growth, especially when your kid fails to gather enough courage to report the bully. You should give them a brief idea about dealing with bullies at school or elsewhere.
- Teach them some negotiation skills. Go shopping with them so that they can learn things hands-on. They will learn to save money in a smart manner.
- Watch news with them once in a day so that they stay aware of the current affairs.
- Encourage them to take part in debates. When they face smart competition, they will feel the need to upgrade themselves.
- Teach them how to react to different situations. They should be smart enough to steer away from predators.
- Present them with a lot of intellectual outlets, so that they get a chance to explore a lot of opportunities in life.
- Do not expose them to too much stress. Stress can have a jeopardizing effect on their health. It actually shrinks some part of the brain that is instrumental for their mental wellbeing.
- Do not abuse your kids. Kids facing abuse are left with emotional scars that might affect their state of mind. They will shy away from doing smart things because of the negative experiences of life.
- Avoid foods that contain monosodium glutamate because they can hamper brain cells. Also, limit the intake of fatty, processed, and sugary foods as they can lower one’s IQ levels.
- Do not smoke in front of your kids. Kids exposed to passive smoking can develop mental problems.
- Try to make math fun and easy for your kids. Math is a subject most of us fret. However, it’s an important subject. Kids who are good in math generally do well later on in life. It also opens up more career avenues down the road.
- Don’t let technology be the kid’s babysitter. Too much of technology exposure can make them appear dumb in the real world. Spend a good amount of time with them. They need to learn practical and valuable lessons from you to grow up as a smart person.
- Feed them with nutrient-rich healthy food that’s rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The initial years of your kid’s life are the best window of opportunity to wire their mind for smartness. Their brain health will thank you.
- Put them to bed early. Kids who go to bed early are found to be better in reading and math.
- Don’t hesitate to breastfeed. Not many parents out there realize that the road to smartness begins with breastfeeding. Breast milk has all the essential nutrients for the proportional growth of a child’s brain. The more they are breastfed, higher is the possibility of them being a smarter person.
- Play chess with them. We all know that chess is a wonderful sport of the mind. It will help them become smart and intelligent.
- Don’t limit them to studies. Inculcate lots of extracurricular activities in their lives so that they grow up smart.
- Never let them feel alone and isolated. The feeling of loneliness can be a smartness killer. So, always stand by their side.
- Encourage them to share their feelings. By doing so, you will be opening their doors of communication. Attending to their emotional needs can go a long way in raising a smart kid.
- Allow them to make mistakes. If you yell at them at every mistake, they will shy away from taking risks. As a result, they will never be able to reach their full potential. As a parent, you should be able to control your temper and avoid yelling at your children.
- Encourage them to ask questions. Children are super curious by nature. They ask endless questions. Shunning their questions may not be a great idea. Attend to them so that they learn something from the answers. Maybe, you guys can find out some of the answers together.
- Don’t have high expectations from them. Rather, have realistic expectations. By having unrealistic expectations, you could be pushing them to their limits. The pressure might prove to be too much for them to handle at an early age. The effects of academic pressure can backfire. It may compel them to do unethical things.
- Get them educational toys like puzzle games, word searches, and building blocks so that so they spend their playtime constructively.
- Introduce them to useful apps that can help their emotional intelligence grow. Today, there are loads of apps out there that can help kids with everything from fear management to anger management.
- Believe in them and their ambitions. That’s the greatest gift that you can give them. Your wholehearted assistance and guidance can change their lives forever. They are certain to do better in life if they have a great degree of self-belief. Students with self-belief are also found to be academically above-average and smarter than their peers.
- Praise their efforts, not their smartness. You don’t want them to develop an ego. Moreover, they should know that hard work and persistence pays off.
- Let them have healthy peer relationships because friends can have a tremendous impact on your kid’s life. Truth be told, they can make a world of difference. Wrong companionship can drag their grades down. It can make them less smart, less disciplined, and more aggressive and unruly.
- Teach them not to take things personally from haters. Explain to them that haters will always exist, and they can make bad situations worse. By not taking things personally, kids can save their day from getting ruined. It’s a smart approach towards a stress free life.
- Have limits in place. Kids don’t listen as much as they watch and learn. So, limit the time spent on television and tablets so that they develop the right habits. After all, you would hate to see them emulate wrong habits.
- Do not be biased with your kids. Encourage them to bond together. They should avoid rivalry and jealousy because those are strong feelings that can affect their overall mental wellbeing. Be smart and take good care of all your kids by being fair to them at all times.
- Never spank them. It has been proven that spanking can invite symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which is found to be instrumental in lowering kid’s IQ levels.
- Educate them well. The more you educate them, the smarter they will get. Of course, we really don’t want them to be just another bookworm. So, it must be a nice balance of study and play.
- Spend some playtime with them juggling. Juggling the ball is like a portable workout that sharpens one’s focus and concentration levels. They also reduce stress, and improve range of motion of the arms and shoulders. The best part is that it can make one smarter. Studies have shown that juggling increases the amount of gray matter in our brain. Therefore, they turn out to be a great exercise for the brain.
- Let them be kids. Kids don’t need the constant nagging and pestering. Too many rules can serve as a mental roadblock. Not to forget the fact that they can be so unhappy by following rigid and outdated rules. As long as they are happy, it’s ok if they aren’t the smartest kid in the neighborhood.
- Make them disciplined. Smartness is not worth much without discipline because self-discipline plays a major role in determining their academic and future success.
- Challenge their brain with different activities. Kids who are smart are those who are always active. They generally do not shy away from a challenge. It might prove to be a good idea to get your kids busy with challenging after school activities.
- Teach them things on the go. For example, you guys are walking past a farm and you notice a scarecrow. Stop right there, and ask your kids questions related to the scarecrow instead of saying, “Look, there’s a scarecrow.” Take the opportunity to get involved and teach them things practically so that it becomes hard for them to forget.
- Teach them morality. Talk about ethical things and make it a point to applaud moral behavior. You can also get your kid’s input when faced with a moral dilemma.
- Set rules for Internet usage. Teach them how to use Internet ethically. As we know, Internet can be a double-edged sword. It can make them smarter or dumber.
- Encourage them to climb a tree. Tell them to climb the small tree in your backyard. Of course, your supervision is a must. Believe it or not, it helps in controlling the emotions. It also helps them confront their fears and get better at creative thinking and problem-solving.
- Tell them failure is not a bad thing. They should know that winning is not always important, but the effort to win is because one can’t always win. They should not let the fear of failure hold them back. You should be promoting risk-taking abilities. When they take a chance and they fail, they end up learning a lot. After all, every failure makes one smarter along the way.
- Stop comparing them with others. Comparing them to smarter kids from the neighborhood is a surefire way to boil their blood from the inside and to make them feel inferior at best. In an inferior state of mind, they are sure to underperform in all areas of life.
- Focus on developing a nice work ethic because they lay the foundation of a great success story. After all, good work ethics separate the best from the rest.
- Don’t run to them as soon as they call you out. Teach them to think through some of the problems themselves and to create solution for the problems.
- Polish yourself and control your mood swings because your unhappiness can spread to the child. Don’t let the everyday stress show up on your face. Reflect good feelings even when you are feeling low in life. You may not be able to please your kids all the time, but at least maintain a smile on your face.
- Expose them to diverse situations to bring out the best in them. Let them to be globally aware. Take advantage of the library to bring the world into the four walls of their room.
- Encourage them to do an internship abroad at some point in their academic career. That’s the best way to help them learn and understand different cultures. Solving problems while operating in an environment away from home will develop some essential qualities in them. Your kid will return as a smarter person for sure.
- Work with their teachers to help your kids in their academic life. Sometimes, kids need some more challenges and extra material to learn things at their own pace. By providing them adequate resources at every stage of their lives, you won’t be stabbing their growth.
- Teach them to save money. While giving them pocket money is one thing, teaching them the art to save money is a different thing altogether. Maybe, you can start a savings account in their name and keep aside 10% of their pocket money for depositing them into the savings account each month.
- Let them learn the value of money. You can reward them with money for doing household chores because kids are more into instant gratification as opposed to saving things for the future. This way, they’ll realize the value of hard-earned money.
- Teach them budgeting. Share how you do the household budgeting so that they get practical knowledge about budgeting. Involve them as well so that they learn how to spend money smartly when they grow up.
- Teach them to be independent in life. Allow them to speak and act independently. That being said, they should know their limits. Give them little projects with a set deadline.
- Don’t answer all their questions right away. If you feel that there is an opportunity to help them learn something and promote problem solving ability, ask them to use different resources to find out the answer on their own. Teach them how to use encyclopedia and other learning tools.
- Go a step further and discuss future plans. Sit with them and discuss about their aspirations in life. Ask them to write down their goals and dreams. It will help them stay on track all the time.
- Celebrate their success. One of the best ways to keep your kids motivated is to celebrate their success. They are bound to feel proud and good about themselves. Moreover, they are sure to do everything on a high note, which in turn will boost their performance in all aspects of life.
- Ask them to think outside the box. Thinking of solutions from different angles encourages kids to use their brains to come up with ingenious answers. It helps them to be creative and smart.
- Take them to a museum visit. Museum visits can prove to be a great learning experience for the kids. Since they will be able to touch and feel the exhibits at the museum, the learning experience will be enhanced. You can check out these kid-friendly museums around the world.
- Do not ignore positive behaviors. It’s so much easier to get caught up with rants that parents might ignore some of the positive behaviors of their kids. If you do not express your happiness over their positive behavior, the chances are that the kid will never know the truth. At the end of the day, smartness is a result of positive actions and positive thoughts. So, do not miss out on the opportunity to reinforce positive behaviors.
- Make them the center of attraction. Make their needs the top priority of your life. Neglected kids do not fare well in life. They also tend to get frustrated and angry when their needs are constantly ignored. Over a period of time, their focus shifts towards negative things as opposed to cultivating smart habits or behaviors.
- Help kids learn from their downfalls. Teach them that downfall is not the end of the story, but a temporary bump to test their will. Over time, they will realize that every setback is a setup for a better prospect. This smart wisdom will help them go a long way in life.
- Nothing can beat the drive to succeed. Drive not only gets one started, but also helps one keep going when things get rough. Drive is something that fuels itself. Smartness combined with indestructible drive can prove to be a killer combination. Coach your kids to be a self-driven person from an early age.
- Expose them to some volunteer work within their capacity. Talk to them about the importance of helping others who are less fortunate in life.
- Permit a healthy dose of competition in the house. The competitive environment is bound to bring out the best in them.
- Help them be responsible and committed at whatever task they are doing. Kids should appreciate the value of work to be successful in life. Clear evidences exist which show that responsible and committed people do well in life.
- Realize their strengths and weaknesses, and try your best to turn their weaknesses into strengths. The first step over here would be to acknowledge the weakness and then work towards improving it.
- Hone their decision-making skills. All the smartness in the world would mean nothing without common sense. Children should be taught good decision making skills from an early age. They should know how to make healthy and safe choices. They should trust their gut when confronted with uncomfortable choices, and they should stand firm when required. It’s advisable to plan in advance for situations that your kid might bump into at some point in their lives. In this manner, they will be prepared to handle the situations smartly.
- Make them stay optimistic at all times. There is something about optimism that gives life a whole new meaning. Optimistic people look at things differently. It helps them tackle obstacles more efficiently than others, and it also helps them grab opportunities that others might not see. An optimist really plays the game of life smartly and makes the most of the moment. Teach them to be positive at all times and to be around upbeat friends.
A smart idiot is always preferred over a stupid genius. Everybody knows that a smart person in the room can be a game changer. Smart guys are generally well-treated and respected. Hence, it pays to put every ounce of effort to make our kids grow smart to help them gain an upper edge in life.
Hope this comprehensive list of ways would help you make better parenting decisions, in turn making your kids smarter human beings.