Every parent wants their child to be a genius in some way. You want them to be smart, strong, capable, and the best that they can be! But are you doing all that you can to make this happen? Or are you missing out on golden opportunities to help them grow?
Here Are 13 Ways To Nurture A Child’s Innate Genius
1. Encourage Reading
Reading proved to have positive links to school success for years, and it can even improve intellectual empathy.
Why does this happen? Well, when you read, your brain is learning to make connections based on the information given, building a world around the book. Additionally, reading can help a child to better grasp and absorb knowledge throughout their life – even with non-fictional concepts like math and science. And that’s how your child connects with his or her innate genius!
To encourage your child to read, you can:
- Let them see you reading
- Leave books out for them to access easily
- Tell your child about what you’re reading
- Read to them
2. Don’t Get Hung Up On Mess or Mistakes
Kids are messy, and they also make a lot of different mistakes. That’s part of the learning and growing process. You’re obviously going to reprimand them for bad behavior, but some kinds of mess are right for them!
The types of mistakes you’ll want to encourage are creative ones. Let them make terrible drawings with oddly mixed colors. Let them pour all the paint into one bowl, even if it means you’ll have to buy later. Or, let them stumble upon the words they read or break something they were trying to build.
When you encourage these types of mistakes, teach them to learn from each one. Some questions you can use, depending on your child’s age, are:
- Why did the wrong thing happen?
- How did it make you feel?
- How can you fix it?
- What can they do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
3. Don’t Be So Strict With Playtimes
Kids need to get the chance to play in a way that feels right and natural to them. If you turn playtimes into organized structures of rules and plans, you’re restricting your child’s freedom. Instead of making them build the exact thing on the box of a set of building blocks, for example, give them the container and let them decide what to do.
As your child plays, or after, ask them questions about what they did. Ask all sorts of creative questions, like:
- How lives in the house you built?
- Why does the dinosaur you made eat?
- What superpowers does that action figure have?
When they answer your questions, pick specific areas to praise them for. This activity will build their confidence. Plus, the lack of rules and suggestions allows a child to learn to think independently, without relying on your input.
4. Take Advantage of Teachable Moments
There are so many teaching moments in everyday life that you probably don’t notice. When you’re busy, it’s easy to let them slip by. But take advantage of them, and your child will learn self-discovery and curiosity. Instead of merely commenting on or ignoring everyday situations, you can:
- Ask your child to guess what happens in individual buildings, such as windmills or factories.
- Show them how you add up simple prices in the store.
- Ask them what they think about the animals you drive past.
- Let them write their grocery lists.
- Ask to help you find something in the house.
- Tell them the names of the vegetables you’re putting away.
5. Ask Them Questions
If you’ve noticed, many suggestions we share in this article have to do with asking questions. And that’s for a reason! If you want to nurture their innate genius, you have to teach a child to think for themselves. As such, make sure you’re allowing and encouraging your budding genius to hold unique and creative conversations, no matter how silly.
Examples of great open-ended questions are:
- What would happen if we stopped for a snack before going to the cinema?
- How would you use this tool?
- If you could run as fast as a cheetah, where would you go?
- How do you think a dog feels every day?
- What do you think is in that box?
You also shouldn’t shy away from “advanced” words – even if your child doesn’t understand, they will pick up sooner or later, or ask you what the words mean.
6. Encourage Curiosity
We’ve briefly discussed this, but it bears repeating. Curiosity teaches your children to educate themselves as many things as possible and never to be afraid of asking questions. Answer their questions and continue to encourage them to ask more – or to find out the answers themselves!
Similarly, you should entertain your child’s curiosity with your own. If they excitedly talk about video games, toys, or a TV show, even if you don’t understand, listen. Ask questions. Make them feel like their pursuit of knowledge is worth it!
7. Don’t Label Your Child
Labels are restrictive, and children often aren’t old enough to understand the nuances of them. Regardless, labeling is rarely ever a good thing – even when the labels are good ones, as you may be thinking of using! Here’s why:
- Positive labels, such as “gifted”, “genius,” “responsible”, or “smart,” can become a burden.
- Labels are always self-fulfilling prophecies; kids who receive positive labels outperform those who receive negative labels.
- A child is boxed in by labels; they believe their label is all that they can be.
- Good labels can give them a sense of superiority that stunts their social growth.
8. Encourage Reflection
Here’s an excellent routine for teaching reflection. Every night, when you tuck your child in, make this a bedtime habit. Discuss the good and bad experiences you’ve had throughout the day. You can choose to focus more on the positive instead when you first begin doing this, then slowly build up to discussing the mishaps as time goes on.
This practice can teach your child how to reflect on the day, their actions, and their likes and dislikes. These reasoning and self-awareness skills will be advantageous as they grow up!
9. Praise Your Child
The ways you communicate with your children will have a massive effect on their self-esteem, positive thinking, and empathy as they grow up. That’s why remembering to provide them with positive reinforcement is essential.
But a lot of parents manage to go wrong here. They give endless praise to their children all the time, even when their child hasn’t done anything praiseworthy. The celebration seems like a nice confidence-booster, but what it’s doing is teaching your child that they never fail. When they do eventually make a mistake, you can’t praise them out of it’s going to be a tough learning curve.
So, instead, try praising them appropriately. When they do a fantastic job at something, congratulate them all the way! But when they’ve done poorly at something, whether at arts and crafts, grades, sports, or even communication, only praise them with the truth. Praise their effort, not their skill! For example, you can say:
- I’m proud of the progress you’re making!
- I’m so proud that you never give up!
- It’s terrific that you found an alternative answer.
- I’m so proud of you for trying something new.
- You tried your best, and that’s good!
If your child does the same thing day in and day out, they stop learning new things. They’ll get good at the things they already know, but everything outside of that narrow area of expertise will become foreign to them. This inexperience means that, when the time comes that they must learn new things, they won’t know how to go about it.
This is why you need to diversify the experiences of your child. To do this, you can:
- Bring them to try new things regularly
- Teach them new subjects and skills
- Let them read books on different topics
- Let them choose new things they want to do
- Encourage exploration
- Don’t reprimand them when they’re bad at something
- Lead the way – do new things, too
- Enroll them in a class
11. Tell Them Stories About Great People
Mixed in with your regular stories and reading, tell your children about amazing figures from history. Make them a diverse group of people, focusing most on people most similar to them first. This storytelling can help inspire them, or at least give them an idea of what they’re capable of!
It’s even better if you can narrow the scope down and start with great people whose stories you know will inspire them. For example, an artistic child may want to hear about great artists, while a child inclined towards science may wish to hear about similar figures!
12. Allow Your Child To Lead (Sometimes)
Letting your child take control can sound scary, and it certainly feels that way for many parents! But this act can help them to learn confidence and teach them that their ideas and wants are worth going for. So take a deep breath, get your positive thinking on, and let your child lead.
Supervise them, of course, and steer them away from dangerous endeavors. But other than that, give them half an hour or a full hour to do as they please! For example:
- Take them to the park and let them lead the way
- Let them decide what game you’re going to play together
- Let them pick what book to read or show to watch
- Ask them where or what they want to eat
- Tell them to pick out their new item when you go shopping
13. Give Them The Chance To Develop Their Inner Genius
There isn’t much point to talent if you don’t let your child develop it. So make sure that your child’s passions, gifts, and skills don’t sit rusty or go to waste.
How can you do this? It’s simple! If your child is good at music, gift them a ukulele. If they love math, offer up fun math puzzles. Or if they like to cook, let them help out in the kitchen. They will get to hone their talents, and who knows, it may be a lifelong skill for them!
Nurturing a child’s innate genius doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do it in so many different ways! But don’t forget whether they’re good or bad at something, the important thing is that you encourage them. After all, what matters most is their happiness, not the achievements they have under their belt!