How do I raise a smart child?

One of the top priorities for many parents is to prepare their child for and intellectual success in the future, but abstract goals like “making your child smarter” seem impossible and impractical in the face of daily worries. Luckily, activities aimed at developing mental abilities don’t have to be complicated.

Just incorporate these proven effective activities into your child’s daily routine, and it will be your feasible and positive contribution to his or her intellectual development.

1. Spend more time outside

While sports training is extremely beneficial for children, it’s just as important to leave time for spontaneous play. According to research, spontaneous play is an integral part of a child’s social skills development. With less time in schools for long breaks, it’s becoming extremely important to give children the opportunity to play outside. It doesn’t matter if kids build a snow slide, spend hours playing tag with friends, or go to the park with you. Allowing them to set their own boundaries and make contact with their peers promotes the development of the vital prefrontal cortex, which will be activated in situations of social interaction all their lives. Thus, through daily communication and cooperative play, the so-called social intelligence of children is formed and developed.

2. Allow children to play video games

You should not worry if children have to stay home on a rainy day or a dark winter evening, and if, barely stepping over the threshold, they rush to the game console. Sure, it’s important to limit the time spent at the computer, but many researchers on children’s intellectual development (including Sheryl Olson, MD) believe that video games (even those that are not for educational purposes) can be invaluable to children’s development. Video games challenge children and give them a rare sense of independence in everything from solving logic problems and creative expression to making social connections with friends based on common interests. Children over the age of 10 are already capable of a deeper and more expansive understanding of complex games, but kids under 10 will also benefit greatly from simpler games. In other words, games for the development of intelligence in children with complex scenarios, according to which the child learns to act independently and in a group, as well as solve logical and creative problems, are of undoubted benefit.

3. Stress the need for effort and hard work

After decades of research on motivation and intelligence, Carol S. Dweck of Stanford University has concluded that pointing out to children the need for effort and hard work has a long-term positive effect on their intelligence development. She argues that parental praise for “talents” and “giftedness” is associated with children’s right to succeed and deprives them of the motivation they will need when learning and high grades cease to be easy. Conversely, if you praise your child for finding a solution to a problem or coping with a difficult task, he will understand that persistence leads to positive results and that success rarely comes easily. And this knowledge will come in handy when he grows up.