by Dr. Shanthi Thomas
Did you know that it is possible to grow your child’s intelligence? Yes, research suggests that it is indeed possible to raise the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of a child through certain strategies. This means that intelligence is not fixed at birth, but can be modified and improved. Let us see how.
Play is serious business for a child. When she plays, she is learning. Playing creates the foundation for not only her emotional and social intelligence, but also the more old-fashioned IQ, because interaction with other kids builds new neural connections in the brain. Therefore, parents should not think that time spent on playing is time wasted. On the contrary, play with peers is very important for the development of different kinds of intelligence.
If there is one strategy that guarantees results in your efforts to raise an intelligent child, it is reading to her. This can start even before the child recognizes letters of the alphabet. Moreover, to improve general intelligence, you can read in any language. Choose books that have colorful images at first, and then move on to those that have more words, as the child progresses in her own education. There is no best time to read, but reading before bedtime is advantageous because it gives a much needed one-to-one time for the child with the parent.
Construction blocks and visual puzzles can train a child’s spatial intelligence, which is the ability to imagine pictures or visuals in your mind. This is the reason many preschools let their students start the day by playing with blocks. Every child growing up should have a set of blocks and puzzles at home to play with. Developing spatial intelligence is important as a support to acquiring knowledge in science, technology, engineering and Math.
It is important to get the child familiar with mathematical concepts early in life, in a fun and practical way. Numbers and counting can be introduced in very early childhood. They can be introduced by reading stories, singing songs, playing games or reciting poems that involve numbers and counting. Very simple board games also can be introduced at this stage.
Physical and emotional closeness develops in the beginning years of life through physical touch and verbal interaction between the major caregiver and the child. This is one of the most important factors that will see children flourish later in life. Most importantly, the cuddling and hugging gives them the message of security while the verbal interaction helps them to mimic spoken words early on in life. Babies who are not cuddled, loved and played with are in danger of having stunted growth.
Physical exercise combined with fun is what a parent should aim for her child early on. The best way to do this is to get your kid introduced to a sport or game like badminton or cricket. This will be one of the most important gifts a parent can give her child. Physical exercise not only makes a child strong, but also smart. Exercise enables more blood flow to the brain which ensures new neurons being created.
Listening to music can boost memory, learning and attention. Music is also very useful in lowering stress at any age. It is a very good idea to get your kid started on instrumental music or vocals from small. The only caveat is that parents need to invest time and energy in seeing that the child practices what she learns at home. Otherwise, after the initial enthusiasm, she will want to stop learning.
If you want your child to be a reader, she has to see you reading. If you want your child to develop an interest in gardening, let her see you gardening. You have to model the behaviour that you want the child to develop. Your child will follow you and imitate you.
No child should be spending time watching television or playing on a phone or tablet before she is 2 years old. Even after two years old, there should be strict timings allowed for television viewing and gadget usage at home. At any cost, two hours before bed time, the child should not be using any sort of electronic media so that sleep is not disturbed.
It is a no-brainier that good nutrition is important for optimal brain development. Food rich in protein such as lean meat, poultry and eggs, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy should be given to very young children on a daily basis. Also important is to limit added sugar as well as saturated and Trans fat. Train your child to choose healthy food right from a young age so that the habit will stay with her as an adult.