According to child development experts and neuroscientists, childhood is a critical time for the intellectual development of your son or daughter. This is the period where the brain develops the fastest. How you aid your child develop intellectually will affect them through adulthood. The first 10 years of a child’s life is what scientist often cite as the “window of opportunity.” Everything during this stage is essential to improving the “wiring” of a person’s brain, as these are the ages when the brain can form the most neural networks. These activities will benefit you too as no one is ever too old to learn a second language with your kids, take up a new sport or improve your health.
Did you know that your child’s brain forms 700 to 1000 new neural connections every second? Processing speed stemming from brain cells connections is one of the most basic measures of cognitive functions your child has and it is what determines how fast your child can take in and use information. Science today has discovered that more than DHA alone is required to enable more brain cells connections. For parents who are looking to improve their kid’s learning, a good tip would be to source a growing up milk that contains key nutrients that support learning like Similac Gain Plus.
Here are 10 things that science says can help make your child smarter:
1. Music Lessons
Studies have shown that musical training gives students learning advantages in the classroom and exhibit greater increases in full-scale IQ, simply making them smarter and improving kids learning.
2. There Is No Such Thing As A Dumb Jock
By making sure your child devotes time to both the field and the library, you are increasing their ability to learn. Being in good shape is good for your child. After exercise, people tend to absorb new vocabulary 20% faster. German researchers put a small group of volunteers on a three-month exercise regimen and then took pictures of their brains. They found that the capillary volume in the memory area of the hippocampus increased by a remarkable 30% and the rate of learning correlated directly with levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor).
3. Don’t Read To Them, Read With Them
Don’t just let your child stare at the pictures in a book while you do all the reading. Be sure to call attention to the words and read along with them. Research shows that it helps with building their reading skills as shared book reading is an effective vehicle for promoting early literacy ability.
4. The Importance of Sleep
Did you know that missing an hour of sleep turns a sixth grader’s brain into that of a fourth grader? Studies show that there is a correlation between lack of sleep and loss of cognitive maturation and development, in other words between the average amount of sleep and grades. Teens who received A’s averaged about fifteen more minutes of sleep than the B students, who in turn averaged fifteen more minutes than the C’s, and so on. Two studies based on this theory stood out as they had almost perfect replication of results. So, even mere 15 minutes makes a big difference.
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Charles Duhigg, in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business states that self-discipline beats IQ when it comes to predicting who will be successful in life. Many studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for success. “Highly self-disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic-performance variable,” the researchers wrote. “Self-discipline predicted academic performance more robustly than did IQ. Self-discipline also predicted which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not. Self-discipline has a bigger effect on academic performance than does intellectual talent.”
6. Learning Is An Active Process
Real learning is not passive, it’s active because our brains evolved to learn by doing and not by hearing about them. It’s much better to spend at least two thirds of the time testing your child on what they have learnt, rather than spending time re-reading until they have absorbed it. For instance, say you want to memorize a paragraph, it’s better to spend 30% of your time reading it, and the other 70% of your time testing yourself on that knowledge.
7. Treats Can Be A Good Thing
Undoubtedly, children should eat healthy all the time as eating right makes a big difference in their grades. Eating a healthy breakfast that is high-carb, high-fiber, and slow digesting like oatmeal on the day of the big test is recommended. What children eat a week in advance matters too. But, there are always exceptions. No child eats healthy all the time. Scientific research shows that caffeine and sugar can be brain boosters and have beneficial effects on cognitive performance. So, if your children are going to occasionally eat some candy and drink a glass of soda, maybe give it to them while they study instead of when they are relaxing.
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8. Happy Kids Are Successful Kids
The first step in creating a happier child is being a happier parent. Happier children are more likely to turn into successful, accomplished adults because happiness is a tremendous advantage in a world that emphasizes performance.
9. Peers Matter
Living in a nice neighborhood, going to good schools and ensuring your children hang out with great kids can make a huge difference. Peer pressure is always talked about in a negative sense but more often than not, it’s a positive thing. What is the simplest way for a college student to improve their scores? Choose a smart roommate. A study involving Dartmouth College students by economist Bruce Sacerdote illustrates how powerful this influence is. He found that when students with low grade-point averages simply began rooming with higher-scoring students and their grade-point averages increased. These students, according to the researchers, “appeared to infect each other with good and bad study habits, such that a roommate with a high grade-point average would push up the G.P.A. of his lower-scoring roommate.”
10. Believe In Them
Simply believing that your child is smarter than average can make a difference. In a study by Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, teachers were told certain kids were “academic spurters”. Those kids did better even though researchers did nothing else to single out them out and they were selected at random. Yet by the end of the school year, 30% of the children haphazardly named as spurters had gained an average of 22 IQ points, and almost all had gained at least 10 IQ points.