Advertising
Advertising

How To Raise Smart Kids: Unmissable Secrets Of Parenting

How To Raise Smart Kids: Unmissable Secrets Of Parenting

We all want our children to do well – to become something great and lead happy and healthy lives. Intelligence in a child has its advantages but having a truly smart kid isn’t all about getting good grades at school.

It’s becoming more and more clear that intelligence is no longer black and white. Using IQ tests to find out how intelligent someone is has been long thought of as a measure to how smart someone is academically and a score of over 100 is worn with a sense of pride. But many studies are fast showing that cognitive and emotional intelligence are just as varied and important – a brain surgeon and an artist can therefore ideally be looked at as being on the same level.

The way parents interact with their child has a huge influence on how a child develops and how smart they become. Allowing your children to be “life smart” and preparing them for their path into the independent world is one of the greatest achievements you can make as a parent.

The overall key as a parent is to focus on the process rather than the intelligence and talent that a child possesses. In other words, it’s all about the journey and sense of achievement that needs to be cultivated rather than praise once a child has completed something. This encourages a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset and will help your child understand the importance of the effort they’ve put in rather than the end goal. Psychiatrist Joe Brewster, believes that a child should be encouraged to see learning as the process of becoming better at something, instead of having a fixed mindset of his intelligence.

With that in mind, here are just a handful of ways to encourage your child to be more aware and, in turn, help you to raise smart kids.

Advertising

1. How You Respond To Your Child

divorce_1661211c

    The way in which you respond to your child through various situations largely determines how they assess their range of experiences. For example, if you react in an indifferent or restrictive way, this could discourage your child from wanting to try new things and cause them to learn to be too cautious and therefore limiting their personal experiences. Instead, encourage your child by asking open-ended questions creating, a space for them to think about actions and awareness of those around them. If they are misbehaving, then try to change their perspectives on the situation by getting them to think about how their actions have affected you and others involved.

    Smart kids are those that get the chance to see another point of view and develop their sense of awareness.

    2. Raise Smart Kids By Limiting The Amount Of Rules

    pexels-photo-69896

      Think about the rules you put into place and whether any of them are really necessary. Research has found that the number of family rules affects kids’ creativity and those families that have, on average, six family rules have children of average performance at school.

      Advertising

      Further studies have found that the most creative architects in the U.S. were encouraged by their parents to develop their own moral rules without any restrictive family rules being enforced. The idea is that a child can develop a sense of right and wrong from sources other than their parents. This allows them to develop more creative personalities and intelligence. The author of the study defines creativity as the following:

      Personality characteristics of creative individuals includes broad intelligence, openness to experience, aesthetic sensitivity, autonomy in thought and action and the pursuit of new challenges and solutions, curious, self-assertive, high achiever, self-critical , self-sufficient, intuitive and empathic, emotional sensitivity, imagination, ambition and dominance, self-acceptance, dominance, self-confidence, acceptance of unusual views as their personality characteristics.

      Enforcing too many rules curbs a child’s sense of creativity and overall development of intelligence. Making sure there are less rules gives your child more time to engage in open-end, free-flowing activities and stops them from being micromanaged and constantly corrected. Of course, children do need important rules but limiting the amount will benefit their long-term intellectual growth.

      3. Allow Your Kids To Be Bored

      person-731165_640

        Boredom is usually seen as a negative thing, after all, surely you should be stimulating your child’s sense of creativity at every opportunity for them to be creative? Well, boredom isn’t all that bad – it actually helps a child encourage their ability to think. Quiet reflection is something that adds to a different perspective and gives the mind space to think up and create activities. Don’t always feel like you have to find them something to do in case you’re not doing enough to accommodate their learning. Boredom, in and of itself, is a time for their brains to develop and become more creative.

        Advertising

        4. Let Your Kids See You Doing Smart Stuff

        reading-925589_640

          Kids pick up on all sorts of things, especially your own actions. Learning from adult behaviour is one of the major ways a child picks up habits and makes sense of the world. If your child sees you engaged in reading, writing, or anything creative, it will cause them to imitate you and become smarter in the process.

          It’s also important to let your children hear you talk about achievements from hard work. As I mentioned earlier focusing on intelligent achievements, both theirs and your own, will give a clear signal that will create a fixed mindset and a fixed mindset can lead to a fragile and defensive child in the long-run. Instead, when you speak, emphasise praise for hard work and focus rather than too much on the end result.

          5. Encourage Your Kids To Take Risks And Fail

          upset-girl

            Although we have a natural tendency to protect our children from feeling upset, allowing your child to take risks and failing will teach them fundamental life skills from an early age. Without experiencing failure early on, a child can develop low self-esteem and get discouraged from creating and learning for themselves. Fear is probably the number one emotion in our lives that can stop us from taking great actions. If we encourage our children to experience failure when they are small, the amount of fear they develop will lessen.

            Advertising

            Teaching a child that failure is not actually a bad thing is a great life-skill that will allow them to make smart decisions and learn from life’s ups and downs. At the end of the day, children need to feel emotions to understand them and protecting your child from them will only stunt their ability to adapt and make sense of the world.

            6. Make Reading And Music A Part Of Your Child’s Life

            reading-1156865_640

              Reading may be an obvious one to excel your child’s intelligence but not only does it help them to read but it also develops your child’s appetite for knowledge. It allows their brain to process situations, creating further perspective and sparks imagination that can benefit all areas of their life. Their thirst for knowledge will develop rapidly if exposed to different topics and ideas and again making connections to the world around them.

              Music can pose so many amazing effects on a child’s brain. Many studies have shown that getting a child to listen to music not only boosts attention, motivation, learning and memory skills but also lowers stress. Stress can have a detrimental effect on how the young brain operates – not something you want at such a crucial time in development. Learning a musical instrument is also great as it targets the brain’s proportional thinking and spatial temporal reasoning so raise smart kids the creative way and pave for well-rounded, life-smart children.

              Featured photo credit: Pezibear via pixabay.com

              More by this author

              Jenny Marchal

              Freelance Writer

              Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How to Save a Bunch of Money Easily With This Simple Challenge 11 Killer Ways To Get Rid Of Roaches Without Harming You If You Understand These 5 Rules In Psychology, You Can Live A Much Easier Life How To Get Over Someone You Deeply Love

              Trending in Child Development

              1 Want Your Kids To Be Happy For A Lifetime? Make Them Feel Secure In The Early Days 2 Necessary Steps When Teaching Your Teenager to Drive 3 5 Tips For Teaching Money Management To Children 4 7 Effective Tips for Your Child’s Positive Growth 5 5 Ways to Ease Back to Work Without Nanny Anxiety

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Published on May 24, 2019

              How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

              How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

              My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

              “Can grit be taught to our children?”

              The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

              What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

              Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in their future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

              Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as adult?

              What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to purse their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

              1. Encouragement is Key

              When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

              If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

              Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

              Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

              If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, care givers, and teachers.

              Cheer Them On

              How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

              Advertising

              A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have try again and again.

              Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

              The same goes with children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

              You Can’t Force Them

              Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

              For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

              She was more successful the second time around, because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

              No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

              There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

              Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

              If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them feel real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

              2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

              My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

              However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all-in at that point.

              Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

              Advertising

              She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

              By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

              That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

              Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance, so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

              3. Allow Them To Fail

              Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

              If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen, and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

              Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

              Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

              If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

              Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

              Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

              Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head on and practice to get better.

              4. Teach Them to Try Again

              Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

              Advertising

              Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

              Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

              Break it Down

              Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

              For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

              If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills are built, they will fail.

              Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

              Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

              Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

              Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

              5. Let Them Find Their Passion

              Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

              It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

              True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

              6. Praise Their Efforts, Not the Outcome

              Praising their efforts keeps them motivated and trying. If you focus on outcome, then when they fail, they will become defeated and discouraged.

              Advertising

              Focusing on the fact that they tried hard and pointing out specific ways that they did well in terms of effort will support them in trying again. When you make a habit of focusing on outcome, then failures are avoided at all costs, including taking risks.

              Risks are needed in order to become successful. Therefore, make a habit of praising their efforts, even when the outcome is not what they had hoped and tried for, because eventually, if they keep trying their efforts will result in success.

              7. Be a Model of Grit

              If you are a parent or a caregiver for a child, then you are a model to that child. Children naturally look up to the adults in their life that are closest to them, especially their parents. They will look at your ability to persevere and achieve. Your grit will show.

              Your children are watching. They may not know the term grit, but they will learn about working hard, not giving up, trying again after failure, and all that grit entails from your actions.

              How you handle life is being watched by your children. You can work on your own grit by reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit .

              Develop a Growth Mindset

              Helping your child develop a growth mindset is also helpful to your child in their development of grit. Dr. Dweck, author of Growth Mindset and researcher at Stanford, developed a theory of fixed versus growth mindset.

              Basically, what it means is that if you have a fixed mindset, you will fear failure and easily give up. Someone with a growth mindset believes that their talents, skills, and abilities can be improved with hard work and learning. Parents and caregivers can help with the development of a growth mindset.

                Some of the ways that a growth mindset can be developed include:

                • Teaching your child how the brain works: neuron connections, right brain versus left brain.
                • Teach them to set goals.
                • Teach them to have a “can do” attitude.
                • Teach them to develop a strategy when they want to achieve something.
                • Teach them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn.
                • Teach them that failure is a normal part of life.
                • Teach them about self talk: Self Talk Determines Your Success

                There are a great deal of activities and materials online for helping your child develop a growth mindset including these resources below (each site contains at least some free content):

                The Bottom Line

                Grit is not just for adults, it is something we can help our children develop. Grit is more critical to success than IQ, so we should be helping our children develop this quality early in life.

                As a parent, being a model of grit, is one of the first ways to help our children become “gritty”.

                Featured photo credit: Gabriela Braga via unsplash.com

                Read Next