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What Does It Take To Raise an “Intelligent” Child?

Image – CC0 Licence 

Who doesn’t want to have an intelligent child? Every parent wants their child to do well in school, and be successful. And before our first child comes along, we’ve got an idea in our head that we are going to show them the right way. We will show them how to do things so they will be a far better version of themselves than we could ever imagine. But the fact of the matter is, there is no set path to being a successful parent. And when you are looking to raise a smart and intelligent child it’s not about doing what Picasso’s parents did for them, but it’s about making sure that you incorporate some of the following simple components.

Get Them Involved in Academics Early

There has been research that shows reading to your children and teaching them maths skills early on can have a direct impact on their achievement in later years. The important thing at the outset is for you to help them but encourage independence later on. If you can gradually wean your children off of your support, you will naturally learn the skill of independence and solving problems for themselves. You can start by incorporating basic pre-reading strategies and mathematics skills as soon as possible. The trick is to help them do it for themselves by not necessarily giving them all of the information. For example, when it comes to reading to them, when they are young, you can point out every single word, but after a while, they will begin to recognise these words, and this is when you need to start slowly encouraging them to read for themselves.

Set High Expectations

If you want children that achieve the highest praise, you have to set high expectations. It’s about balancing it out. But, you have to remember that if you want high standards, you’ve got to practice what you preach as well. You don’t necessarily have to set high academic expectations, but it’s about thinking about what you would like them to achieve. If you want them to be well mannered, it’s about setting the expectation for them to be as courteous as possible. 

Teach Them Social Skills

We can have that antiquated notion of the intelligent individuals sat quietly in the corner, who eventually outshines the rest of the class in their studies. But intelligence is not just about being book smart. If you want your child to be successful in life, you’ve got to be aware of the correlation between their social skills in their youth and success in adulthood. How can you teach social skills at a young age? Showing them how to resolve issues with friends, learning to share, listening to other people without interrupting, and being helpful are perfect starting points.

Listen to Your Child

You might be surprised, but if you are constantly looking at your phone, it can plant the seed in your child’s mind that they are unimportant. As we want to raise healthy, well-rounded children, we have to remember that when they talk to us, even at a young age where they are speaking gibberish, that we have to show them that we are connected to what they’re saying. If our children feel unimportant because we are distracted by our phones, we have to remedy this and learn to focus on creating a loving and peaceful home. And it’s important to remember that if children live in a stressful environment, they are not going to feel safe, which gives them the foundation to learn and develop their skills in an organic way.

Praise the Effort

We can be so quick to praise our children by saying how clever they are, but if we focus on praising them with statements such “as you are so smart,” or praising qualities such as intelligence, or even appearance, this can lead to underperformance. If you can offer praise based on the effort that your children used to overcome challenges by demonstrating persistence or determination, this is positive reinforcement of them using their self-resilience.

When it comes to raising an intelligent child, you may very well have to decide what you class as intelligent. Sometimes it’s about book smarts, but it’s also about being smart in the ways of the world. And for all the anxieties we can have as parents, and the worry that our children aren’t getting the best head start in life, raising an intelligent child is partly to do with making sure that we give them enough love and support, but also make them realise that they have to respect themselves too.

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