Parents are anxious for their children’s intelligence to develop quickly and well. The good news is that parents have the unique opportunity to boost the intelligence level of their children during the first few years of life - and have a wonderful time doing it. But it can be hard to know what kind of stimulation and how much stimulation to give.
Experts disagree as to just what intelligence is, but they guess that between 50% and 80 % is inherited. That means that your efforts, plus your baby’s own interest in what is happening, will have a lot to do with your child’s intelligence. Motivation plays a key role in the way the baby learns.
The first two years of life are important ones for the baby’s growing brain. When babies are exposed to sights, sounds, textures to feel, smells, and tastes, more connections are made inside the brain.
Children learn by playing
Playing is natural, enjoyable and maybe the most important way children learn to adapt to the world. For adults, learning something new means work. But for the child, learning is usually exciting and fun.
Toddlers love to help wash the car, sweep the floor, or set the lunch table. This "help" can be fun or infuriating for the adult, but the toddler is learning about how things work in the world. Playing with real objects and imitating adults is an effective way for young children to learn.
Children need lots of time to play with real objects before they understand the meaning of letters and numbers. Don’t think of teaching your child so much as guiding the child toward discoveries about how things work, where things fit, and why things act the way they do.
What can I do to help my child build intelligence?
- Create an atmosphere for learning and be sure your child is interested. Let the child lead the activity; stop when the child is bored, tired, or frustrated.
- Repeat those activities that your child wants to do again. They may be boring for you but enjoyable for the child.
- Encourage you child. Assure your child that making mistakes is a normal part of learning.
- Encourage active play. Running, jumping, and other active play is better than sitting in front of the TV or watching adults play.
- Keep a variety of toys and books on low shelves where your child an reach them. Introduce new toys one at time. Too many toys can overstimulate a child.
- Help your child use the senses-hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling-to explore objects. Focus on one sense at a time.
- Talk a lot as your child explores. Talk about what is happening and what you are doing.
- Provide toys that allow baby to see cause and effect. Pushing a button to make a cat appear is not as stimulating as hitting a pan with a spoon and seeing it move, or hearing the noise.
- Provide activities at the child’s developmental level. Allow the child to choose which toys to play with.
- Encourage your child to play games like Chess and strategy games. Memory games will, as expected, improve your child's memory. On the whole, games that require your child to think will improve your child's mental skills far more than simple skill games, which focus more on hand to eye coordination.
It is imperative that a child older than 6 years gets a minimum of eight hours of sleep a day to boost his brain power. After a day of studies, your child needs a good night's sleep to ensure what he has learnt stays rooted in his brains. The next morning, he should re-revise it. Extensive research shows that when you sleep less, you weaken your powers of recall.
Similarly, after school your child should make it a point to revise what he has learnt. If he only studies last minute, chances are that he remembers little of what was taught in class. But if he comes home and revises his classwork even for a very short time, he will register it for longer.
Cutting down salt from your child's food can also speed up your child's powers of recall, especially if your child is overdosing on sodium intake. A teaspoon of salt per day should be all a child needs to take in per day. If your child has more salt than this, you should cut it down. Remember that all tastes are acquired. If you put your child on a low salt diet from the outset, he will stick to eating foods low in salt - at least for a while. And later on, in adult life when he decides he needs to cut back on salt, he will find it easier to do so.
Make sure the water your child is drinking is pure. In Egypt, water needs to be boiled and filtered before it is drunk, so make sure you do so. Drinking water with traces of aluminum can cause the brain to deteriorate over the years. If you live in a country where it is safe to drink tap water, in any case attach a filter to the tap to remove all traces of aluminum. Also, avoid wrapping food in tin foils. It is not bad for health, but it is possible that it causes damage over an extended period of time.
Yoga, especially breathing exercises, can make a world of difference to your child's mental and physical well being. Even fifteen minutes of yoga a day should help, so encourage your child to take it up.
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