5 Ways To Make Kids Smart
Making your kids smart in today’s fast-changing environment, whether it’s social, economic, educational, skill-oriented, is not an easy task.. To face this changing scenario, it is absolutely important to raise smart children who are future-ready! Making your kids smart is not only about making him/her excel in academics, it is about developing the child’s potential, and giving them the confidence to be all that they can be.
And no, enrolling them in various activities and varied classes is not the only answer. What then are the skills needed to raise a smart child & how can parents teach them to their child? To prepare children to face the world that is ever changing and adapt to it, we need to inculcate five major skills to make kids smart. Let’s dive deep into each to see what it is and an action plan to improve these skills in our little ones.
1. A Disciplined Routine to Make Kids Smart
You might be wondering, how discipline will make kids smart? Even as children, creating a routine is great training to learn time and life management skills. As a parent help your children and guide them to create their routine instead of you creating it for them. Remember, as a parent the most important job is to help them to be self-sufficient instead of dependent.
Instill self-discipline at an early age
This is a basic rule that goes for pretty much any behavior you want to teach to your kid. Be it, eating food at the right time or having limited screen time, or getting up early for school, teaching self discipline is a life skill that should not be ignored. And there is no minimum age criteria for instilling self discipline. Starting early will help them recognize and learn self-control and self-discipline.
Have routine and systems in place for them
Schedules and routines are very important because these give children a sense of confirmation in regards to what they have to do and when, and they help them develop self-discipline. Create a daily or weekly timetable for them to follow and when responsibilities are completed make sure they don’t go unnoticed.
Teach them to respond to corrections in the right way
“My daughter hates being corrected and she will become irritated and frustrated”, “My son likes to stick to his routine and does not like doing things spontaneously” – These are statements that we hear often from parents. It is important to teach children to accept change in plans and respond in a gracious manner. They will learn how to control their emotions, thus creating self-control. Teaching this can be challenging, but once acquired your child will gain confidence to learn.
Have rewards and consequences
When your child does something without even being told, make sure you noticed it and reward the behavior. Whatever the case is, make them feel appreciated. This will make them want to do more good.
If your child does something they were not supposed to do, give them constructive feedback. This will teach them that their behavior is unacceptable. Express to them how it made you feel.
Lastly, always have rules. Rules let children know what they can and cannot do. Rules can be things like T.V and mobile games are only after homework is done, or not going outside to play unless your room is clean. Simple, concrete rules will definitely increase a child’s self-control, self-discipline, and sense of responsibility.
Be a role model
It is important that you try your hardest when it comes to self-control because children follow parents’ footsteps. If you’re acting in a positive and self-controlled manner, your child will most likely adapt and want to follow.
Your Action Plan to Create A Disciplined Routine
2. Physical & Mental Wellbeing
Physical and Mental wellbeing in children is important for a wide variety of reasons. Food, exercise and brain stimulating activities go a long way in improving physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise is a vital component of any child’s development – which puts the foundation for a healthy life. It helps to reduce overweight and obesity, increase strength in muscles and bones, and can even improve concentration at studies.
Research indicates that inactive children are likely to become inactive adults, putting young people at risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and diabetics. This is why it’s important to encourage exercise and keeping fit from a young age.
Regular physical exercise has lots of health benefits for children. But it’s important to encourage your child and find activities they enjoy. This way your child won’t find the exercise a chore and they are more likely to do it.
The type of activity depends on the individual preference and the age of the kid.
Here are some play-based exercises for you to choose from :
- floor-based play in different positions – this could include ‘tummy time’, rolling, or reaching for toys for very young kids who are not yet walking
- Playing in the park
- Throwing or Catching games
- Frisbee play in the park
- Martial arts
Whatever the activity or exercise is, make sure your child is using appropriate protective equipment, including footwear, and think about safety to minimize their risks of injury.
Focusing on your child’s brain health is one of the best things you can do to improve their concentration, focus, memory, and mental agility, no matter what age they are.
Doing certain brain activities help to boost your memory, concentration, and focus, resulting in smartness. The various activities you can try for their mental health are :
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Vocabulary games
- Coordination games like Toe Wiggling, Right-Left games
- Concentration games like matching objects, finding missing items, etc.
Food plays an important role in a child’s development, both physical and brain development. It is important to include the right foods in their daily food menu. They need various nutrients to grow their bodies and also for brain development which will help in making kids smart.
Here are the topmost 5 foods that you must include in your child’s diet to develop their brain for smart functioning.
Green vegetables are packed with antioxidants and other things that help new brain cells grow. They are full of iron and vitamins that are needed for the body. You can make eating greens interesting and child friendly with innovative recipes. How about trying omelets with spinach tomorrow?
Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, nuts and seeds are helpful for a mood boost and keep the nervous system in check. Maybe, add a big scoop of peanut butter in their smoothies next time!
Vegetables and Fruits
Give them the boost of vitamins and minerals provided by various vegetables and fruits as a mid snack option. Some fruits like Apples and plums are lunch box-friendly and are antioxidants that may fight the decline in mental skills.
Cut carrots, cucumbers, apples into fingers, add a spoon of peanut or any nut butter as a dip and voilà, a quick snack for your kids is ready!
The brain needs a constant supply of glucose and whole grains provide that in multiples. They contain fiber that helps regulate the release of glucose into the body. Switch to whole-grain bread for breakfast, and how about homemade popcorn for a fun snack?
Dairy foods are packed with protein and B-vitamins—essential for the growth of brain tissues.
Include various dairy options in their diet like milk, paneer, cheese, curd/yogurt. You can try making hung curd dips at home for them to eat their carrot fingers.
Importance of Meal Timings
Forcing children to eat reinforces poor eating habits such as eating when they aren’t hungry or finishing the plate when they’re already full. Rewarding your child for eating, punishing your child for not eating, or forcing your child to eat can reinforce poor behavior. Do not bribe the child for eating.
Along with what food you need to plan, it is also important to have disciplined meal timings for the children. Children need a meal routine to depend on, so they don’t worry about when the next meal is coming. If children know they’ll have a snack between meals, they will be less likely to overeat out of fear they’ll be allowed to go hungry before the next meal.
Limited Screen Time
We know that kids have more screen time access now more than ever. Be it online classes or virtual activity sessions that you attend to teach them various skills – everything is on screen. I am not saying you should avoid screen time completely, but as a parent, it is important to know where to limit and when to limit it. The following tips may help you to know how you can limit the screen time for your little ones:
Get them outside
Getting some fresh air is absolutely important either for kids or adults. Get them out to have a nature walk, bike ride, or scavenger hunt. Make the time fun and engaging for them.
Co-watch as much as possible
If children are going to have screen time, the best thing you can do is to watch the show or game with them to help them understand what they’re seeing. Engage with them, ask the questions, plan some activity around the same, and repeat concepts after the show is over so they’re more likely to retain that information.
Puzzle and Board Games
They’re great for all ages and perfect for exploring their logical, reasoning, and concentration skills which build a path to make kids smart. Try out various board games like Snakes & Ladders, Ludo, Scrabble, etc. These games engage them beautifully and they’re wonderful for family bonding as well.
Your action plan to develop a wellbeing routine for your child
3. Behavioral and Social Skills
Good behavioral and social skills won’t just help your kid to make friends, it will also help them get better success in life. The following skills are important to introduce to your kid right from early age to reap more benefits –
It is essential to teach children that “sharing” is “caring” and the importance of sharing our tangible or intangible “things” with others.
While you may not want to force your child to share certain toys or food with certain children, you can regularly point out sharing when you see it. Praise your child for sharing and indicate how it makes others feel. Say something like, “You chose to share your pencil with your friend. I bet he feels happy about that. That’s a nice thing to do.”
Listening is a life skill that is sure to enhance relationships with others – be it a friend, partner or colleague. Listening is not about letting others talk – it is about absorbing the information and responding appropriately. Giving your child plenty of opportunities to tune their “listening ears” can strengthen their listening skills. Audio stories could be a great tool for this.
When reading a book to your children, stop and ask them to tell you about what you’re reading. Pause and say, “Tell me what you remember about the story so far.” Help them fill in any gaps they’re missing and encourage them to keep listening as you continue. Don’t allow them to interrupt others when they’re talking.
Good Eye Contact
Making good eye contact is a very important part of communication. If your child struggles with eye contact, offer quick reminders after the fact. In a gentle voice, ask, “Where should your eyes go when someone is talking to you?” You don’t want to cause a shy child additional anxiety. And, provide praise when your child remembers to look at people when they’re talking.
Occasionally ask them to explain some topic about they know in a crowd with whom he is comfortable with and then slowly extend it to a larger crowd in family or friends gatherings. You can also show your children how it feels to hold a conversation with someone who isn’t making eye contact.
- Ask them to share a story while you stare at the ground, close your eyes, or look everywhere except at them.
- Invite them to tell another story and make appropriate eye contact while they’re talking.
- Afterward, discuss how it felt in each scenario.
Your action plan to develop social skills in your kids
4. Skills beyond academics
As a parent, it is very important for us to teach kids that Academics is the not only thing to learn and excel. There is much more beyond education. Extracurricular activities encourage children to bring out their talent in the limelight and give it wings in the right direction.
Here are some skills that you can check based on your child’s interest –
Music & Dance
Do you know that music helps in both mind and body working together? Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.
Sports isn’t just good for physical growth, it also helps in mental growth as well. Sport helps children develop better ways to cope with the highs and lows of life. Playing in a team helps children to develop many of the social skills they will need for life. It teaches them to cooperate, to be less selfish, and to listen to other children.
Life skills like Critical thinking, Problem Solving, Focus, Inter-Personal Skills, and Self Reflection are highly important to teach our kids to learn everyday survival. You can teach these in your everyday activities easily. Some examples for you are below:
- Encourage your child to try new things and allow minimal risk, such as climbing a tree or riding a bike. Offer a new challenge when they seem ready, e.g., “I think you’re ready to learn to wear your pants. Let’s give it a try.” Focus more on effort than achievement.
- Teach them connections and patterns between seemingly disparate things. The more connections we make, the more sense and meaning we make of the world. Our children begin to see connections and patterns as they sort basic household items like toys and socks. Simple acts, such as choosing clothes appropriate for the weather, helps them build connections. Point out more abstract connections in life, or in stories you read, e.g., “This book reminds me of when we picked shells at the beach.”
- Playing puzzles, building structures, and playing board games help them in developing their critical thinking skills.
List of Skills Beyond Academics that you can choose
5. Vocabulary & Language Skills
Vocabulary skills predict the children’s ability to learn to read and helps children to think and learn about the world, hence making kids smart. Expanding a child’s knowledge of words provides unlimited access to all new information.
Fun Ways to Practice Vocabulary
Use Theme-Related Magnet or Sticker Boards to Create Stories
Animals, transportation, rooms in a house, princess castles, or characters from familiar children’s stories, such as The Three Bears
I spy, hide-and-seek, Twenty Questions, Scrabble, and bingo boards
Read a lot
The key to wide vocabulary is reading more. The more they read, the more new vocabulary they get introduced to. Keep reading aloud to your child, even once they’re able to read independently: kids love to hear stories, and you can build their vocabulary by choosing books that would be too difficult for them to read themselves.
Encourage your child to write for pleasure on any subject that enthuses them. Don’t correct their writing – just let them write for the sake of it.
Your action plan to develop vocabulary skills in your kids
To Conclude, focusing on these five major categories helps you make your kids smart. These skills help children in developing confidence and prepare them to face challenges in life. And always remember that kids follow parents. For them, Parents are the role-models. Let’s set an example and make kids smart for a better tomorrow!