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  • How to Give Your Child a Head Start on Being Smart

    Child rearing is a complex and difficult process, but if you wish to raise an intelligent child, it can be one of the most rewarding and important things you do with your life. It may first seem like you will have to put forth a great deal more effort and time to promote intellectual and emotional growth in your child, but this is not the case.

    All children need time and a great deal of attention. You will simply be focusing this time and effort on providing your infant the extras that will start her/him on the path to academic and emotional excellence.

    The rewards you’ll receive are a deeper relationship and complete understanding of your child. You will provide yourself the opportunity to develop your child’s innate gifts, talents, and intelligence while opening her/his eyes to the boundless horizons that is their future.

    There are many things that can be done at home. In order to prepare your child, and to engage her/his mental resources, here's what you can do.

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    Nurture Your Child's Love of Reading
    A bedtime story --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

    When you read to your child, you nurture communication skills, vocabulary, and grammar. There is the additional fringe benefit that reading helps children learn a great deal about the world beyond their daily lives. The knowledge in books expands their horizons and can bring them into contact with people and information they might never have imagined experiencing otherwise. Nurturing a true love of the written word by reading with your young child is one of the most important ways to raise and nurture an intelligent child.

    The first step on the long path is trying to read with your child every day at least once a day. It's best to start reading to your child when she/he is a baby. The more routine it becomes for your child, the more easily it will become expected and even missed when absent.

    Secondly, you can make reading entertaining for the child in question. You can use different voices and sounds to keep her/his attention fixed on the material you're reading.

    Thirdly encourage your child to read on their own. Find topics that interest them and make them readily available to her/him. Always pay attention to your child’s reaction to a story subject and/or writing style.

    Fourthly, encourage your child to discuss what she/he has read with you. Discussing the materials that she/he has read will help your child with her/his verbal dexterity. Lastly, make regular trips to the library a part of your schedule.

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    Beware of Television

    Television is not entirely a negative thing for children to spend time watching, however, it does present several obstacles for parents who want to take an aggressive stance raising their children. Most importantly, television occupies time that could be used on more stimulating/rewarding activities.

    There have been some studies which have indicated that watching some varieties of television can stunt the intellectual potential or limit a child’s intellectual understanding of more complex subjects.

    The United States Department of Health (USDH) recommends that children under the age of two years do not watch television or spend time in front of other kinds of screens. These screens include computers or tablets.

    Step one in healthy screen viewing: children between the ages of two and five should not have more than one hour of screen time each day, and kids between the ages of five and 18 should have no more than two hours of screen time each day. Supposedly one of the effects of long-term television viewing is the inability to focus or retain information in their long-term memory.

    Step two: be sure your child watches shows appropriate for his/her. Step three: have your child watch shows that stimulate his or her brain, such as “Discovery Kids.”

    Step four: treat television as a treat, not a right. A small child should only be allowed a controlled amount of viewing on a schedule you decide and strictly regulate. Like any treat over indulgence will lead to ruin.

    Step five: make your child's television experience more active rather than passive. You should have your child sing along with the characters or talk to your child about what he or she sees or hears, while it’s going on. You can even make a game of trying to find or identify things or themes in the program first.

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    Buy Toys That Make Your Child Think Actively

    Educators and developmental theorist have known for decades how critical toys are as an important part of a child’s intellectual growth and development. This is why you should put thought into the toys you acquire for your child and make sure that your child’s toys are developmentally friendly.

    All children are unique in their styles of learning and play, and thus different children use toys differently, so toy purchases are left to your best judgment. The following are helpful guidelines, which can help you find the right toys for your child's needs.

    Firstly, you are looking for toys and games that promote problem solving (like puzzles) are a good choice. Secondly, toys and games that allow your child to express her/his creativity (like Legos or Lincoln logs) are beneficial.

    Thirdly, toys that allow your child to physically move and touch things are often better choices than two-dimensional video games. Fourth, video game time should be limited, and you should verify every video game to make sure it has educational and intellectual value before allowing your child to play.

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    Find and Nurture Your Child's Interests

    An important element of raising an intelligent child is nurturing your child’s interests. Different children will demonstrate different proclivities and different interests. You should nurture this and promote uniqueness. You can do this in the following ways.

    Firstly, positively reinforcing your child’s positive interest. If your child demonstrates an interest in history, take them to a historic site. If your child demonstrates an interest in science, take them to a science museum. Nurture hobbies that let them indulge their curiosity and creativity.

    Secondly, buy them books that sparks his or her interest. Reading is a fundamental step in developing an interest to its fullest. Thirdly, enroll them in programs that cater to their interests. If your child loves environmental science, find a summer environmental program for kids at a local university to enroll them in.

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    Challenge His or Her Interests

    If you only cater to your child's interests, he or she might miss out on topics to which they have not been exposed. In order to avoid this, you should go out of your way to introduce your child to different ideas, cultures, and ways of life/thinking about the world. You should consider the following concepts when broadening your child’s horizons.

    The first thing is there is a great deal of benefit to introduce girls to traditionally masculine subjects like science, technology, engineering, and math. You should let your daughter know she can choose these subjects as career paths, hobbies, and interests if she likes.

    Secondly, introduce boys to traditionally feminine subjects areas like cooking, childcare, and nurturing. Let your son know he can choose to be a cook or a caregiver if he likes.

    Thirdly introduce your child to different ways of viewing the world in terms of gender relations, culture, and intellectualism. Your child does not have to fit into any sort of traditional mold and can adopt different ideas in order to fashion their own unique identity. The fewer hard limits you put on a child’s identity, the more amazing your child’s personality can become.

    The next key step in helping your child reach their intellectual and creative peak is to create a free-flowing and open line of communication between you and your child.

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    Join Your Child For Play Time

    You should strive to interact with your child as he or she plays. Interaction can take many forms. You can choose to sit down and play with her/him, or you can chat with your child as he or she plays. You’ll learn more about your child and about her/his specific type of intelligence.

    The first benefit of this open dialogue is it offers influence. With influence over your child’s interests, you might also be able to steer them toward playing styles and activities that are more enriching and rewarding for them.

    Secondly, you should always keep in mind that you always let your child expresses his or her own creativity. Do not inhibit your child's creativity, as it is safe and healthy for your child to express it in the manner she/he chooses. Thirdly, you should not over-structure, monopolies or take over their playtime.

    Fourthly, and most importantly, there is no right way to “play.” Your child should be free to play in whatever way strikes their fancy.

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    Chat With Your Child

    It’s important to talk to your child regularly about his or her interests, likes, and dislikes. This way, you’ll learn about your child, and you’ll be able to determine how your child is progressing intellectually over time. You can try and talk about anything with your child but it’s better to let your child choose the conversation.

    One, when your child asks you something, turn it into a conversation rather than just quickly answering her/him just to get it over with. The challenge of conversation gives a chance to develop their cognitive skills.

    Two, ask your child questions and take note of how she/he responds to your queries. Keep in mind, there is no right answer. Your goal should be just to engage your child's mind. Three, one of the most important parts of communicating with your child will be listening to your child. Make sure you're listening carefully to what your child is saying instead of lecturing to him or her on a subject of your choice.

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    Explain Everything To Your Child

    Take it upon yourself to use every opportunity to explain how things work to your child. Linguistic cues and verbal expressions allow children to develop listening skills. This is a critical part of how children learn to understand the world. Use their burgeoning curiosity as a way to introduce them to the world, little by little. Firstly when your child is young, between the ages of 2-4, explain basic and simple things.

    Explain things such as why is the sky blue or ice cold, etc. Two, you should gradually introduce more complex topics as your child gets older. Theses topics can include, but are not limited to, how computers, microwaves or cars work. Thirdly, you should save topics like sex, sexuality (gender politics), budgeting, and the complexities of law for children near or over the age of 10 years. These are topics that confuse many adults.

    It’s important to encourage your child’s love for knowledge at school. A child should have a cultivated respect for school and the academic learning process. The more comfortable your child is with the process of learning away from home the better she or he will perform.

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    Enroll Your Child in the Best School for His or Her Abilities

    Having your child attend the best school possible is key in nurturing your child’s intelligence. This is important because you want your child to be around peers and educators who are as committed to nurturing excellence.

    In addition, you want your child to attend a school that has the resources to fund programs that will help your child stimulate his or her thirst for knowledge. You should consider charter or magnet schools. In the case that you’re in an area with access to good private schools you should consider private schools as an option.

    If all else fails, just look for schools with high ratings. Keep in mind those schools with special programs that will benefit your child such as those with well-developed STEM (Science, Technology, and Math programs) or art programs.

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    Enroll Your Child In Extra Curricular Classes

    While an intelligent child might succeed and prosper in any classroom, you should try to sign your child up for specific classes that will further challenge your child and help him or her expand his or her horizons. Specific classes that might nurture your child’s success include, but are not limited to, non-conventional pre-kindergarten programs that promote creative growth.

    There are even gifted programs in elementary school or middle school that offer enrichment programs. Those with older children have access to honors classes in middle school and high school. Your child may prequalify for advanced placement classes in high school to earn college credits.

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    Keep an Open Line of Communication With Teachers/Administrators

    Communicating with your child’s teachers and administrators will help ensure that your child is getting the attention she/he needs and is being challenged to a level that will nurture their intelligence. You should firstly keep an open dialogue with your child’s teachers and always be courteous and respectful.

    Secondly, talk to your child’s teachers about higher-level work that your child might be able to do in place of other work. Talk to your child’s teachers about readings and activities your child can do outside of school.

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    Use Extracurricular To Sharpen Their Academic Skills

    Despite the study and reading heavy encouragement of this article, there is life outside of academics. Extracurricular activities are a great way to expand your child’s horizons at school and give validations to your child’s hobbies at home. Extracurricular activities will help your child develop into a well-rounded person with a wealth of real-world experiences and intellectual study to draw on.

    There are a number of activities you can consider to accomplish this goal of well rounding your child. You can enroll them in an athletic program, such as football, baseball or track, and field. It is best to find out what interests your child and encourage her/him to be bold and try.

    There is also debate club, school newspaper, Model United Nations, and similar clubs for those children with less physical skills who wish to enjoy the companionship of their peers with similar interests. In the case that your child is more musically talented than verbally or physically gifted, there is chorus or band.

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    Balance the Academic and Kid Life

    Many parents forget to keep things balanced for the child, while trying to strive for academic excellence. One of the most important parts of nurturing your child’s intelligence is to help create a balanced life for your child. The simple fact is that downtime and playtime are important for all children and for creativity to flourish. Consider the following point of view, while deciding whether or not you are providing a well-balanced childhood.

    Children are just that, children. Any child who is overcommitted might be overstressed and develop anxiety. Anxiety disorders rob a child of focus and their good health. In every way, an anxious child is counterproductive to the goal of promoting intelligence. A child who is overcommitted might not be able to realize their potential in any one thing. The divergent focus of an overly full academic or extracurricular plate can lead to distraction in all areas of the child’s life.

    Your child should always have a significant amount of her/his time to her/his self. A child who is overcommitted might lose interest in subjects and activities she/he once enjoyed and harbor resentment against overbearing parents. You do not wish to alienate your child. Once lost, that connection between child and parent is very difficult to rekindle.

    On the parental side, overcommitting yourself or your child might place undue stress on you and your partner. The goal here is academic/intellectual success, not family unhappiness.

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    Nutrition: Your Kids Are What They Eat

    Children’s brains develop rapidly. Providing the right nutrients to maximize their abilities is vital for smart kid head start. First, spinach and kale are good for learning and memory. Omega-3 Fatty Acids power up brain cells with energy; these are found in fatty fish such as salmon.

    The best kid-friendly options are enriched eggs, yogurt, salmon, and flavored edible oil extracts. Eggs are good sources protein and choline is good for energy and growing brain cells. Starting nutritional habits early encourages good eating habits later in life by learning to enjoy the wonderful textures and flavors of food.

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    Regular Exercise Promotes Intelligence

    Due to cultural stereotyping and bad cinema, we tend to assume that intelligence doesn't tend to coexist with athletics, but that assumption is incorrect. Exercising the body is one of the best ways to boost your child’s intelligence and preserve your child’s health as well.

    Children who walk to school tend to concentrate better and get better test results than those given rides in the car. One possible reason is that the exercise boosts the blood (and therefore oxygen) supply to the brain, which helps give it the energy to think. It might also promote the growth of neurons and perhaps encourage the release of certain neurotransmitters and growth hormones that are crucial to the brain’s overall health, all of which could contribute to better concentration and memory.

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