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These 6 Activities Will Help You Raise Smart Kids

smart-kidIt’s a fact of life that some people are just naturally more intelligent than others. After all, everyone can’t be Einstein. The world needs regular people, too. Science does not completely understand what makes some people super-smart, and others…well, not so much. Some of it could be genetic, except that oftentimes really smart parents have children that…well, they will probably never work at NASA. And, some pretty dim-witted parents have had children that were intellectual super-stars.  It could be environmental, except that a lot of morons come from rich, and privileged backgrounds, the best schools, etc…and some of the best and smartest people our species has ever produced have come from very modest backgrounds, under somewhat less-than-ideal backgrounds. It seems the cream really does rise to the top.

However, there are things you can do to allow your children to realize their maximum potential, at whatever level they can achieve. People do the best, and are happiest when they are living and working at their potential, or close to it. As parents, it is our duty to provide our children with the tools they need to try to reach their maximum, “Me”. And the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to achieve this. Let’s look at 6 important factors that can help you raise smart kids.

1. Music.

Studies have shown that music lessons seem to increase a persons intellectual brain functions. The study showed conclusively that children in the music groups showed a larger increase in general IQ than the control group. Further studies showed that music training can benefit everyone, and can even off-set some of the more deleterious mental effects of aging.

2. Exercise

The stereotype of the “Dumb Jock” is a myth. If athletes seem a little less learned, it is because they probably spent more time on the field than in the classroom. But this can be can be remedied by simply enforcing some discipline.  This is done quite effectively with the use of Academic Eligibility Requirements…no pass…no play. If it wasn’t for that, many of us (I am including myself) would have probably not gotten much of an education. There is no question that playing football is a lot more fun than sitting in a classroom. It’s been known for a long time that being in good shape increases brain function and efficiency. Recent studies have proved that children that play sports learn things up to 20% faster, with better retention. So, encouraging your children to play sports is a great way to help them achieve academic excellence.

3. Reading

Don’t read to your kids. Read with them. Instead of just letting them look at pictures while you read, call their attention to words. Teach them the alphabet, and teach them to sound out words. The better your reading skills, the easier it is for you to learn. Studies have shown that the earlier, and better children read, the better they do in school.

4. Sleep

Studies have shown the sleep deprivation has adverse effects on learning. Researchers have concluded that the loss of even just one hours sleep is equivalent to a loss of two years of cognitive development. So, a 9th-grader who looses an hour of sleep has the cognitive potential of 7th-Grader. So, when parents in the old days were adamant about bedtimes, it seems they were right all along. Make sure your children get plenty of regular sleep.

5. Discipline

Smart is no good without discipline. Studies have shown that children who exercise strong will-power consistently outperformed their more casual classmates, even when their IQs were significantly higher. Self discipline has a far greater effect on academic performance than raw intelligence.

6. Learning through activities

Don’t let your children watch educational videos. Make them learn actively. Research shows that passive learning can actually harm your child’s learning ability. Learning is an active process, and requires input and action from the child.

And lastly, remember that intelligence isn’t everything. Smarts aren’t much good without discipline, ethics and morality. Don’t think less of your kids just because they are not ‘A’ students. Encourage them to do the best they can. Being smart, and being intelligent are not the same thing. The world needs everybody, of all levels. Smart people seldom start bar fights, but lesser-intellects seldom build nuclear weapons. It all balances in the end.

References:

Associations between music education, intelligence, and spelling ability in elementary school: Katrin Hille, Kilian Gust, […], and Thomas Kammer: Adv Cogn Psychol, 2011;7:1-8

Exercise and Children’s Intelligence, Cognition, and Academic Achievement: Phillip D. Tomporowski, Catherine L. Davis, Patricia H. Miller, Jack A. Naglieri: Educ Psychol Rev. 2008 June 1; 20(2): 111–131. doi: 10.1007/s10648-007-9057-0 PMCID: PMC2748863

A Randomized Trial Examining the Effects of Parent Engagement on Early Language and Literacy: The Getting Ready Intervention: Susan M. Sheridan, Lisa L. Knoche, Kevin A. Kupzyk, Carolyn Pope Edwards, Christine A. Marvin: J Sch Psychol. 2011 June; 49(3)

Associations Between Sleep Duration Patterns and Behavioral/Cognitive Functioning at School Entry: Évelyne Touchette, Dominique Petit, Jean R. Séguin, Michel Boivin, Richard E. Tremblay, Jacques Y. Montplaisir: Sleep. 2007 September 1; 30(9): 1213–1219

Theories of Willpower Affect Sustained Learning: Eric M. Miller, Gregory M. Walton, Carol S. Dweck, Veronika Job, Kali H. Trzesniewski, Samuel M. McClure: PLoS One. 2012; 7(6): e38680

Where’s the evidence that active learning works: Joel Michael: Advances in Physiology Education, 1 December 2006Vol. 30no. 159-167DOI: 10.1152/advan.00053.2006

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Genius Awakening was created to lead people to a better understanding of self and others in order to navigate our world at a higher and more awakened level of being. Together we will explore the depths of consciousness in order to evolve beyond our current paradigms into a world of love, joy and peace. Oksana and Larry Ostrovsky are passionate guides of this space.