18 Tips for Raising Kids Who Are Smart

5 minute read

By John Hardy

It’s every parent’s intention, wish, and bragging right to have intelligent offspring. Of course, there’s no formula to magically produce smart children but you can learn everything you need to know about raising smart kids with a search online.

Decades of scientific research have gone towards understanding what produces “smart kids,” and today on Healthversed, we share with you 18 ways to raise your children to be top of their class. Is it smarts? Is it talent? Let’s get into it.

1. Interacting with Your Kids

It may have stiff competition from the Internet and video games, but actually interacting with your children, be it positive physical reinforcement or sharing in their hobbies, can have a positive effect on their intellectual growth. For example, scientists have observed that babies who were not cuddled or played with had stunted brain growth. Another example, researchers have connected cooking with your children and enhanced math and motor skills.

2. Read Books with Your Children

Reading books is one of the most important activities in helping your children grow. Reading books out loud with your child when they’re young, even if they don’t understand every word, has been shown to give them a head start in developing language skills. Because of this head start, these kids are more likely to develop a lifelong interest in reading, do well in school, and succeed in adult life.

3. Exposure to a Variety of Things

Sights. Sounds. Questions. Conversations. Exposing kids to a wide variety of scenarios will help develop both sides of their brains. Try playing games or working through math problems together to engage your child’s left brain while developing the right side of the brain through more creative ventures like arts and crafts.

4. Playtime

It’s unanimous: let kids play! Playing is the most effective way to learn. Through the act of playing, kids create the foundation for intellectual, social, physical, and emotional growth. When kids play with other children, they learn to cooperate, reason with others, consider people’s feelings, and many other valuable life skills.

5. Introducing Them to Music

Studies show that listening to music boosts memory, attention, motivation, and learning. It can also lower stress, which is destructive to a child’s brain. Learning to play a musical instrument has an effect on the brain’s proportional thinking and spatial-temporal reasoning, which is a strong foundation for abstract math. Experts recommend starting with the piano for a better fundamental understanding of music theory. Learning to read music and play up to 10 notes on a piano will make it easier for kids to learn any of the other instruments. The key is to start them with music young — no matter the instrument.

6. Watching You!

It may sound creepy, but let your child watch you. Kids learn by modeling adult behavior. If they see you reading a book, enjoying music, repairing things, or cooking dinner, they will learn new and minute details through imitation.

7. Educational Video Games

Nothing wrong with a little fun. According to studies, the best educational games teach kids about the alphabet, math, music, phonics, and other life skills. Video games also help in developing hand-eye coordination and introduce them to technology.

8. Feed Your Children the Right Food

Eating the right food is a factor when it comes to your child’s development. A protein-rich diet improves attention, alertness, and thinking. Carbohydrates provide the fuel necessary in thinking. The best food for children tends to be whole grain and fruits. Conversely, junk food has negative effects on attention span, focusing ability, and activity level, so avoid heavily processed foods.

9. Take Them on an Adventure

Getting out of the house from time-to-time is always good. Taking your child on an educational outing is even better. Some good options include discovery centers, museums, play days, and activity-based attractions. Even something as simple as an outdoor excursion can prove beneficial by inspiring curiosity in the natural world.

10. Instill the Benefits of Practice and Hard Work

Look for ways to reinforce the fact that skills, be it physical or mental, improve with practice and hard work. A recent behavioral research study showed informing 7th graders that intelligence is not fixed but growing, and they can improve it through hard work resulted in a direct spike in math grades in junior high.

11. Starting early

It is documented that an early start is a key factor in raising smart kids. Although a bit extreme, giving kids a head start in learning could start as early as the crib. According to a Harvard University study, there are specific activities that, when started at a young age, boost the chances of nurturing a smart child. These activities include: maximizing loving responsiveness, minimizing stress, singing to them, using number and rhythm games, enabling and encouraging three-dimensional competencies, and cultivating a love of learning.

12. Exercise

It may be a bit of a cliché, but physical exercise is vital for kids. It not only makes kids healthy and strong, but it also makes kids smarter!  Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain and builds new brain cells.  While exercise is good for adult mental acuity, it has a more long-lasting effect on a child’s still-developing brain.

13. Ration the TV

Easier said than done, but volumes of early childhood research warn about kids watching TV before age two. Allowing kids to watch too much TV keeps them from activities that are important to developing the brain like playing, socializing, and reading books.

14. It’s Okay to Be Bored

Contrary to some parental emotions, it’s not a bad thing to allow kids to get bored occasionally. Learning to be bored is part of preparing for adulthood. Kids can learn to enjoy the quieter moments of life, rather than searching for constant stimulation.

15. Failure Is Necessary

It may sound cruel, but experts suggest that kids who don’t take risks and experience failure, such as falling off a bike or losing in competitions, can develop low self-esteem and phobias. Such mental problems can go on to discourage creativity and cause them to develop a fear of failing.

It’s not easy for the parent, but the research cautions about rescuing kids too quickly. Let them solve problems on their own so they learn from their experience.

16. Kids Understand Incentives

Contrary to popular myths about spoiling, studies show that it’s okay to reward kids as motivation for getting good grades or doing chores. Some suggest letting the child ask or determine what they prefer as an incentive. The studies say that, in many situations, money or material things may not be as important to the child as some parents think. Experts strongly warn that rewards should not be used to control kids or stop unacceptable behavior.

17. Sharing Your Feelings

It may sound basic, but expressing feelings helps kids keep in-touch with their moods and rationalize why they feel certain ways. Plus, it’s important for boosting their emotional development and teaching empathy. Understanding how other people feel helps children grow into well-adjusted adults with strong interpersonal skills — traits that some experts argue are more important than intelligence.

18. Don’t Micromanage Your Child

Don’t constantly correct your child. It undermines everything we’ve been sharing with you! Allow them to discover things for themselves and boost their creative and innovative thinking. By constantly hovering over your child, they’ll only learn to question themselves and their ability. And that is the last thing you want happening so early in their development.

John Hardy