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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.

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1. How You Respond To Your Child

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    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

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      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.

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      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

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        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.

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        4. Let Your Kids See You Doing Smart Stuff

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          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

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            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.

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            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

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              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

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              Jenny Marchal

              Freelance Writer

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              Published on December 14, 2018

              14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

              14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

              According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

              One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

              But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

              1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

              Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

              Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

              Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

              2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

              At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

              Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

              Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

              Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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              3. Build a Community

              In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

              Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

              4. Accept Help

              Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

              There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

              5. Get Creative with Childcare

              Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

              If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

              When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

              6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

              As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

              Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

              7. Create a Routine

              Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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              If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

              Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

              8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

              If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

              When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

              This article may help you to discipline your child better:

              How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

              9. Stay Positive

              Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

              Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

              Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

              10. Move Past the Guilt

              In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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              Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

              Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

              11. Answer Questions Honestly

              Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

              Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

              Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

              12. Treat Kids Like Kids

              In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

              There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

              Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

              13. Find Role Models

              Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

              Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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              Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

              14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

              Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

              Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

              Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

              Final Thoughts

              Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

              However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

              Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

              More Resources About Parenting

              Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

              Reference

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