Every parent wants to give their child the best start and opportunities in life.
All you have to do is take a trip to the local playground and the underlying competitiveness of parents seeps through most conversations. We all want our kids to be smart, and the good news is there are many things we can do in order to help give our children the stimulation they need. Whilst school systems are quite similar in their education, what you undertake at home is entirely up to you.
Interaction and Environment
There is much debate over the relative significance of heredity and environmental influences over the intelligence of people. Nature versus nurture. While there are statistics suggesting that it is approximately 50%-50%, it has been documented that environment has the edge and that the stimulation a child receives in their formative years has an enormous impact on their problem solving and creative thinking abilities. Some schools offer gifted and talented classes, and there is also the option of a gifted and talented program to address gifted children’s cognitive and emotional needs.
Spending time reading to your child and giving them access to books has repeatedly been found to aid in children’s development of neurological links, and to increase their ability to excel in a classroom environment. Reading enables children to absorb content across a broad range of topics. Children who actively seek out books and are encouraged to read have a greater chance of applying learned content in problem solving situations. As a parent, modeling good reading habits is a great way to encourage your child to read. Share your enjoyment of books with them, and your enthusiasm for reading may just rub off.
Encouragement and Praise
On the note of encouraging your child to read - encouragement of all types will allow your child to explore the world and tasks with a willing curiosity rather than a nervous need to get things right the first time.
A great trait of successful people is a determination and willingness to persevere and stick to whatever task they set themselves. By encouraging your child to do the same, and praising their small accomplishments along the way, you will help them develop that important skill. The skill of doggedness and perseverance is probably the most important thing they can learn. Many gifted children develop late, and it’s the ones who learn to persevere and are encouraged all along the way that will ultimately become successful by sheer determination to do so.
Permission to Speak Freely
As well as being sure to encourage your child, talk to them.
Talk about anything and everything. Don’t be afraid of using words they may not comprehend at that given time; they will be prompted to ask questions, or will pick up on such words when they are used in a similar context in other conversations. This way you can help increase your child’s vocabulary while also improving your communication lines with them, and establishing the habit of talking to each other on a regular basis.
Questions and Answers
While communicating with your child, be sure to consistently ask them open ended question in order to instigate their critical thinking habits. Encourage the observation of details and the natural curiosity that children carry. Rather than dismissing questions (even those repetitive and irritating ones), ask your child to evaluate a situation, or decipher the reasoning behind things as best they can.
Involvement is key. Being there to answer questions, talk to them, actively explain new things, ask them their opinions, these are the ways to help your child in their discovery of the world. Let them know that you are here to guide them and keep those communication lines open for a long lasting and beautiful relationship.
The most important way to allow your child to flourish is to let them play.
Do your best not to be demanding, but rather encouraging, and have fun! The journey should be a happy one, not a competitive battle to better your neighbour, but a happy, playful journey into and through the world together.
Image source: https://www.verywell.com/dual-exceptionalities-1449152