YOU PROBABLY knew someone who was
so smart in school, you were in awe of their
brains. Until recently, scientists argued that
intelligence was a fixed innate gift from the
parents. There are many other factors that
influence a child’s intelligence levels.
Studies have shown that it is possible to
boost your child’s intelligence and creativity.
The secret is to utilise the first ten years of
the child’s life. Within that rare window of
opportunity, the child’s brain can develop
complex neural networks. And so the
right steps should be taken to enhance the
‘wiring’ of the child’s brains.
Are you looking for tips that can boost the
intelligence levels of adults and children?
Here are twelve science-proven ideas you
can explore:
1. Get adequate sleep
Research has shown that children need
to get at least eight hours of sleep for their
bodies and minds to rest and develop. Sleepdeprived
kids are at a risk of slow cognitive
growth and maturation.
One study showed that students who
score As got at least 15 minutes more sleep
than those who got Bs. And students who
scored Bs also got fifteen minutes more
sleep than students who scored Cs.
Sleep is vital in improving your child’s
mental development. Make sure your
children get enough sleep.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast
The importance of a healthy diet cannot
be over-estimated. That’s why students are
often encouraged to eat well on the morning
of exams. The best kinds of breakfasts are
high carbohydrate and high fibre foods that
take time to digest. One example of this
super food is the oatmeal and fish.
But what you eat one week before your
test also
influences your
performance.
One research
study showed
that college
s t u d e n t s
p e r f o r m e d
well when
their thinking
speed and
attention levels
were tested.
Then their diets
were changed
to high fat,
high protein,
low-carb diet
heavy on meat,
eggs, cheese and mayonnaise. When these
same students were retested after five days,
their performance was poorer. This proves
that growing children shouldn’t be placed on
a ketogenic diet.
Caffeine and glucose can also help boost
attention levels of the child’s brain. So perhaps,
treats are best given when children are
studying.
3. Learn more than one language
Research has shown that children can learn
as many as four languages with perfect fluency
and pronunciation. Not only do bilingual
children develop high literacy skills, they
exhibit better concentration under pressure and
are more attentive to important information.
If you want your children to be very smart,
consider enrolling them for language lessons.
4. Practice makes perfect (Learn by doing)
Learning requires active participation.
Science has shown that TV programs and
DVDs don’t enhance the intelligence levels
of children. It is best to introduce activities
that involve active participation. For instance,
after reading to your children, you request
that they narrate the story in their own words.
Encouraging children to draw pictures will
help them learn to write.
As Coyle wrote in the talent code, humans
evolved to learn by doing and not by watching.
This goes to show that children are unlikely to
forget when they learn by doing. If your child is
struggling with either arithmetic, reading and
comprehension, encourage them to practice for
at least one or two hours every day.
5. Introduce awesome indoor learning toys/
games
Every parent’s dream is to help their child get
the most out of their playtime. The best way to
do this is to invest in a variety of educational
toys that can help enhance their intelligence
levels and creativity. Avoid battery-operated
toys that encourage passivity. You want the
child to learn and discover new things in play
time.
Younger children will learn a lot from
stacking building blocks atop each other while
trying to make objects. Building blocks help
children use their imagination and strengthen
cognitive coordination. It lays the foundation
for building spatial skills, problem-solving
skills, mathematics and science.
Chess and scrabble are great games that can
help children improve their vocabulary as well
as logical and critical reasoning skills.
6. Teach them to read along with you
In the past, parents read to children, mostly
at bedtime. But the experts say that it’s better
to read with them. Point out the words as you
read. Encourage your children to look beyond
the pictures on the pages of the book. Draw
their attention to the words that are being read.
Research studies have shown that
joint reading significantly enhances the
development of children’s reading expertise
and strategies. This method is particularly
helpful for children with learning disabilities.
So when next your child asks you to read,
say, “Okay dear, let’s read.” And mean it. If
you’d like to discover more kids’ books and
learning materials, you’ll find quite a number
on this list of homeschooling and free learning
websites.
7. Incorporate sports and exercise in daily
routine
Contrary to popular opinion, sporting
activities boosts brain power. This is true for
adults as well as children. After exercising
with my children, we are often able to read for
longer periods of time, and they are likely to
sleep better.
In fact, studies show that exercising
increase your ability to learn faster. They also
discovered that a three-month exercise routine
increased blood flow to the part of the brain
that is focused on learning and memory, by
thirty percent.
So perhaps children should spend as much
time in the library as they do engaging in
sports. Children can be encouraged to jump
ropes, ride bicycles, take up gymnastics or
even dance.
8. Happy children are generally smarter
The science of happiness is one we’re
constantly trying to understand. But for now,
we know from research that happy kids have
an advantage in our fast paced world. Happy
people are more likely to have more fulfilling
relationships and to succeed in the workplace.
The easiest and surest way to raise happier
kids is by being a happy parent. Children
raised in a loving and happy home are likely
to grow up to be happy and successful adults.
9. Have faith in your children
Watch what you say to your children; they
internalise your words. Intelligence levels and
creativity increase when children feel loved
and trusted. Kids want to know you have
confidence in them.
A science study revealed that kids performed
better when their teachers believed that they
were very smart. In my creative writing
classes, the children I homeschooled pushed
themselves to write more creative stories
when I told them they had great potential.
So I learned to say, “You can do it. You’re a
great writer. You’ll go places.”
This tended to lift their spirits as well as
encourage them to push the boundaries.
My wonderful homeschool-based resource
materials helped a great deal, but so did my
attitude. So, if you want your children to be
smarter, start believing that they are.
10. Maintain a positive peer group
Intelligence is 50% hereditary, reveals one
research study. The other 50% is influenced
by the environment. And so children must
pick their peer groups with utmost care.
When I was in school, I noticed my grades
dropped when I spent more time with
unserious friends. And when I became
friends with students who strove for
academic excellence.
When I was in school, I noticed my
grades dropped when I spent more time
with unserious friends. And when I
became friends with students who strove
for academic excellence, My grade spiked
remarkably. You children’s peers can
influence their grades.
Studies show that students infect each
other with good or bad study habits which
can affect their grades. As parents, it is
important to note that the following factors
make a world of difference: living in a safe
and serene neighbourhood, attending solid
schools and ensuring that your children are
always in good company.
11. Learn to make music
When I first heard about Mozart for babies,
I was skeptical. How is it possible that the
brain of the unborn child could grasp and
relax at the sound of music? During all
my pregnancies, I listened to my favourite
classical music and old school rhythm and
blues. After my children were born, I noticed
that they reacted positively to the music I
played before they were born. I didn’t know
they were listening.
Music lessons enhance the IQ of children.
A research study revealed that children
in music groups performed a little better
than their peers in IQ assessments, index
marks, and in a standardised evaluation of
academic performance.
Music is generally helpful for both children
and adult. Another research showed that
musical training enhances the learning
abilities of students in the classroom.
12. Grit is more important than high IQ
To succeed in work, business and family
life, you need more that a high IQ. What do
you need then? Self-discipline and grit are
what every child needs to be successful.
Many studies have shown that willpower
is an essential habit for success. Students
who exhibited self-discipline were likely to
score higher than other students. And selfdiscipline
had a bigger effect on academic
performance than talent.
Want your child to be smart and
successful? Help them build grit. That’s
what they need.
Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes creative
non-fiction and prose fiction. Her works
have appeared in Romance Meets Life,
Flash Fiction Press, MTLS, Saraba Magazine,
Sentinel Magazine and others. Her first
novel, Finding Love Again, was published
by Ankara Press. She owns and manages
Creative Writing News.

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