Every parent hopes to have a smart kid. Although there’s scientific evidence saying that intelligence is an inborn characteristic, thanks to good genes, there are also research-based insights that prove that it can (and should) be developed. In other words, children aren’t just born into smartness, they have to be grown into it. That said, here are very practical, but science-backed tips for raising smarter kids:
1. Promote outdoor play
Letting kids play outside has tremendous effects on brain development and mental processes. For one, the exploration kids are able to enjoy outdoor play triggers the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a kind of protein essential for the growth of new brain cells. Also, when your kids are physically active, there’s increased blood flow to the brain, which means there’s sufficient supply of oxygen and glucose in that part of the body, resulting in better alertness and concentration.
As you know, outdoor play allows interaction with nature as well, helping kids be at a state of relaxation, which is the ideal frame of mind for learning. These benefits are well maximized when you take your child to a daycare. Salt Lake City childcare providers include outdoor activities in their programs, like playing in the sandpit, doing a scavenger hunt, or planting a garden.
2. Let them have fun… musically
According to research, there’s a significant cognitive development in musicians that makes them attentive and interested in learning. Plus, you’ve probably heard of the popular belief that listening to classical music makes for smarter people. To be specific, memory improves and so does a performance on learning tests. Perhaps before dropping off your child to daycare, you can play some Mozart on the background during breakfast or the car ride.
Some childcare centers also involve music lessons in their curriculum, or at least in their classroom activities. If your kid is enrolled in those kinds of centers, you can bet that they’re getting their “music fix” every day. There’s also the option of signing them up to short courses of learning a musical instrument. Try to assess if your kid is into it. If not, don’t insist. Ask recommendations from fellow parents to find child-friendly instructors around your locale.
3. Read with your child
Reading to your child is probably one of your bedtime rituals. But if you really want them to be intelligent, you have to read with them. Reading has lots of cognitive benefits for children. For one, it triggers new white matter in the brain and enhances the communication within the region. Some studies also show that kids who were able to read well already by the age of seven tend to perform better academically in their teens, specifically in abstract thinking and pattern finding. Consider changing up your bedtime ritual: Instead of reading to them, do it with them. Teach your child reading strategies as they grow up. Ask their daycare teacher every now and then which they should improve on in their reading skills.
Again, intelligence isn’t just an inborn quality. It is a trait that has to be nurtured. Raise a genius out of your child with these science-backed tips.