Parents want their children to flourish. That desire usually means wanting them to raise intelligent children, brimming with curiosity and insight. But given the many challenges involved with developing high intelligence, it can be hard to know where to start.
Luckily, there are scientifically proven ways to encourage the healthy development of intelligence in children. Better yet, those methods are also crucial for parent-child bonding and good parenting in general! Here are five parenting tips for raising intelligent children.
1. Foster A Positive Home Environment
The environment that a child grows up in has a massive impact on developing and going through life. While the occasional hurdle to overcome at home can be a good lesson, an overly hostile home environment is sure to damage a child’s ability to grow, learn, and manage their emotions, which all lend themselves to lower intelligence.
Studies have found that high-conflict homes are terrible for kids, mainly if a divorce or similar break-up of guardian figures occurs. Maintaining a happy, positive, and peaceful environment should be prioritized, as the troubles you have with fellow family members will affect your child’s growth and development. This can mean learning to handle conflict in more positive ways.
Of course, it is also true that disagreements happen in homes, and sometimes the separation of guardians is necessary. You definitely shouldn’t decide to try and “make things work” for the sake of your children when they can’t. Fostering a healthy home environment doesn’t mean creating an appearance of perfection, after all.
If conflict must occur at home, you can help to negate the adverse effects this will have on your child by doing the following:
- Opening lines of communication to them by keeping them informed (age-appropriate) of any significant events happening in their home.
- Keeping the most severe displays of conflict away from them.
- Providing them with a safe space to express their emotions, ask for reassurance from you, and be away from any volatile environments.
- Signing up your child for appropriate counseling or therapy.
- Helping your child every step of the way through any home transitions.
2. Raise Intelligent Children by Promoting a Love of Learning From A Young Age
There are many different kinds of intelligence, but most parents would agree that the sort of intelligence they want their child to have involves a thirst for knowledge and enjoyment of new experiences. You can foster this desire to learn in your children by promoting learning from when they’re very young.
It’s never too early to teach kids what they’ll be learning more formally later, say studies. Here are some ways to promote learning in your children:
· Buy Them Brain-Boosting Toys
Kids love to play, and this means that they can often learn very well from the act of playing. Toys and play can help children develop and grow, so you can do them a massive benefit by choosing play items that double as learning tools for them. Puzzles for brain power, building blocks for creativity, educational computer games as a video game alternative, or physically engaging toys are great choices. However, it is crucial to tailor the toys you opt for to your child’s unique preferences.
· Parents Who Raise Intelligent Expose Their Little Ones To Many Different Things
Your kids aren’t going to learn things that they aren’t given the inherent opportunity to learn. In their early years, they’ll need you to show them how to expand their horizons. Encourage your children to leave their comfort zone now and then, introducing them to new things and allowing them to decide if they like them or not. Break barriers and stereotypes and make it clear that you will support your child’s interests with positive thinking no matter what they may be, and this will teach your child to feel safe in learning and growing.
· Read With Them Or To Them
There is a whole lot of research about the hugely positive effects that reading to and with your children can have on their development. The activity allows children to develop a sense of grammar and vocabulary while learning helpful communication skills and teaching them new things from the contents of their books. As they grow older, encourage your kids to read independently, let them choose books to buy, and bring them to libraries.
· Nurture Their Interests
Sometimes, parents try to discourage or control the interests of their children towards more stereotypically “intelligent” ones. For example, some parents may refuse to indulge their child’s interest in art and instead tell them to focus on science. While this usually comes from a place of concern, it’s important to remember that there are many different forms of intelligence. Better yet, passion is a huge motivator for people of all ages, and allowing your child to pursue what interests them will give them a chance to learn and grow at fast rates in these areas.
3. Don’t Forget It’s Important to Raise Socially Intelligent Children, Too!
Social skills are an essential part of a child’s growth and development. Research has found that learning social skills at a young age can increase a child’s chance of success throughout their life, especially in early adulthood.
Exposing your kids to social situations with their peers is a great way to socialize them, but you should also focus on specific skills and have them practice them out in the real world. Here are some essential social skills to teach your children:
Very young children may struggle with listening, but when they’re at an appropriate age, it’s crucial to teach your kids to listen to you and those around you. Foster listening skills by asking your children to repeat stories and instructions and steer them away from interrupting or inattentive behaviors while being spoken to.
Children can be a little self-centered in their youth, so teaching the act of sharing is vital to help your kids make friends and keep them. Praise your kids for sharing the things they like with others.
· Eye Contact
Teaching kids to look people in the eye when speaking or being spoken to will give them the chance to build emotional intelligence. (Of course, if your child is neurodivergent, you shouldn’t force them to make eye contact when they’re not comfortable with it!)
Working together with others teaches kids how to respect the people around them, and it also will make them team players in the future. You can foster this trait by creating activities for the whole family to do together as a team.
· Personal Space
A lot of children don’t naturally understand the concept of personal space. Set boundaries and rules about this subject early on so your child grows up knowing about them. Explain why these rules are in place. Relevant rules include “knock before you enter a room” and “don’t touch people without asking.”
Chores are an easy way to give your kids something productive to do around the house and teach them hard work and responsibility. Research has indicated that children who do chores grow up in more positive ways, predicting a higher chance of success in their fields as they grow up.
Chores don’t have to be complicated. Give them age-appropriate tasks and explain to them why it’s vital that they do them. Hold them accountable by reminding them of their chores and praise them moderately for a job well done. They’ll learn to value responsibility and will pick up essential skills that can help them in life.
5. Talk To Your Child
A lot of parents can be jam-packed, and a lot of children talk a lot! This can result in situations where kids get used to talking to parents who aren’t listening or are eager to quickly tell them what they want to hear to have some peace and quiet.
Of course, it makes sense that parents need a break now and then. But for the most part, it’s vital to make an effort to really, truly converse with your child. This will give you insight into your child’s interests, progress, and communication styles, and it’ll also deepen your bond.
Regularly communicating with your child will also help them build their skills, and they’ll learn from the information you give them in the process. The trust they create with you over time, thanks to this open communication, will further foster the right environment for a child to grow into themselves and their brain. Here are some tips for talking to your child in this positive way:
· Turn Things Into Conversations
Some things need only a short answer, but others could spark conversations. If your child asks a question, try to provide an opportunity for discussion and thought exchange instead of simply hurrying them along.
· Put The Devices Away
When talking to your kids, don’t use any devices. Please pay attention to them directly and show them that you’re focused on them and are fully engaged. This also sets an example for them and how they should listen. (Note that neurodivergent children may need to fidget with items to focus on a conversation, so tailor this to your unique child!)
· Be A Good Listener
Kids’ brains are still developing, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be heard. The concerns, interests, and thoughts they have can seem silly to adults, but if you’re going to foster your child’s intelligence (and a healthy bond), you should listen to them carefully. Validate what they say, show that you understand them, empathize with them, and encourage further conversation.
· Talk About Their Interests
Children love discussing the things they’re passionate about. If you’d like to spark a conversation with them, talk about the things they like. This will show them that you support their interests and encourage them to pursue them with positive thinking!
· Ask Questions
When your child talks about something, continue the conversation by asking them relevant questions to show that you’re interested. Doing so will encourage them to further explore their ideas with you. Note that this doesn’t mean forcing a child to answer you when they don’t feel like talking about something; kids who feel safe with you will come to talk to you about those things when they’re ready!
Parenting is harsh, especially when you want to ensure that your kids raise intelligent children who can solve problems and act thoughtfully. Learning to follow the proper steps to raise them intelligently will foster the growth you want to see in them!