Read our tips about practical activities that can help your child excel intellectually from an early age.
Every parent wants to help their children improve their learning abilities. The good news is there are many ways that you can hone intellectual abilities of your children and help them develop their motivation, attention, comprehension, organization, and creativity.
How can you, as a parent, make sure that your child is living up to his or her full potential? What can you do to start developing your child’s learning abilities? Understanding the stages of child development surely helps, but actually being there for your child and actively participating in their upbringing is what will make the biggest impact on their future.
Parents Are Each Child’s First and Favorite Teacher
Parents play a crucial role in providing inputs and activities children need during critical stages of development. It is important that parents become involved in their children’s cognitive skills development by motivating them to exercise, or by taking part in their activities and competitive sports.
There are many ways you, as a parent, can help your child, and here are some suggestions:
- Play sports with them: Many studies have shown that exercises increase energy, improve children’s well being, reduce stress and fatigue, and encourage interconnection of neurons that improve their intellectual abilities. There are many sport games you can choose from; not only will the two of you have fun, but you will also work on honing your child’s intellectual abilities – don’t forget that!
- Music: Psychologists have found that introducing your child to music, from an early age, will help it improve its memory and learning abilities. Deep breathing and therapeutic exercises have shown similar benefits.
- Do whatever is necessary for them to have a good night’s sleep, because it allows their brain and body to recover.
- Play! Children learn through games which increase their brain efficiency. Puzzles, riddles and enigma questions stimulate their creative thinking.
- Draw. Children love drawing because that is how they express themselves. You might not think of this activity as something important, but it is an essential educational tool for them. You can even use our tips to learn how to decode their drawings and help them adjust themselves to the world easily.
Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Preschool
Remember that the learning environment for your child begins in preschool. Primary and secondary education increase only 25% of your child’s brain capacity. Therefore it is extremely important for a child to have a high quality preschool education.
Intelligence and education have been studied together for a long time. Researchers have found that children’s IQ score is closely connected to the amount of time they generally spend in school. The likely explanation for this finding is that children are being trained to think, answer factual questions, solve problems, and learn specific bodies of knowledge in schools, consequently preparing them to answer questions appearing in IQ tests which are formulated in a similar way.
Isn’t this enough reason to start teaching your child from an early age?
We give you 5 tips that you, as a parent, can use to help your child develop:
1) Watch educational TV programs and cartoons: According to American Academy of Pediatrics, television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. However, once children come to the preschool age, an hour of television is OK, as long as it is high quality children’s television. When watching TV, children should be allowed to see only educational TV programs and cartoons. Here are some recommended shows: The Backyardigans (Nickelodeon), Super Why (PBS Kids), Bubble Guppies (Nickelodeon), Team Umizoomi (Nickelodeon), Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon), Between the Lions (Nickelodeon) and etc. You can find more ideas on his list. YouTube also has a plenty of educational videos that are good for your child. Here is an example of a video that can help your child learn their ABCs while simultaneously learning about animals and nature (good for babies, toddlers, infants and preschoolers):
2) Limiting kids’ computer time: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents establish “screen-free” zones in their homes by making sure there are no televisions, computers, or video games in children’s bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner. The way and the amount of time your children spend in front of a computer is important for their proper physical and emotional health. A child should not spend more than an hour a day in front of a screen. Even that can be extensive, if the child is not regularly involved in other daily outdoor and gross motor activities, or associative thinking tasks.
3) Outdoor games and Nature activities: Preschool children should spend more time playing ball games in nature, or using a jumping rope and rubber band for various group activities. Here is a great link where you can get some ideas about good activities for children ages 0-5.
4) Gross motor activities and balancing games: Children should be involved in as many gross motor activities as possible, such as running, jumping or hopping. Gross motor skills can be learned and improved with practice and children should be given plenty of opportunities to exercise these skills.
PBS Kids proposes an interesting balancing game called Hankie Hop. To play, the first player of each team has to balance a handkerchief on his foot and hop to the finish line and back. Then the following person in line goes next. If a player drops the hankie, he has to start over. The first team to have all players successfully balance the handkerchief wins.
5) Memory learning games: Children demonstrate the ability to recognize complex abstract concepts from an early age, such as car brands or country flags; however, this ability should be further developed through memory learning games and puzzles. Discovering the missing item in a puzzle will be fun for your child while helping them develop reasoning skills. You can go to this website and play memory games with your child for free – it will be fun for both of you. Test each other’s memory and maybe even do a mock competition to see who is better in memory games. You might be surprised how well your child remembers things.
What do you do to help your child develop? Do you have any suggestions for other parents?