Parenting is by far one of the most challenging responsibilities one can undertake during one’s lifetime, as there is no formal university or course curriculum where you can learn how to be a successful parent. But that need not be a cause for concern, as here are five powerful things to do to make your child smarter and help give your little one the best possible start in life.
Applying these five things can also help improve your parenting skills and prepare you to better parent your child, especially during the middle-childhood and adolescence years.
In this article:
- Treat baby talk as a real conversation
- Take your child playing very seriously
- Read to your child
- Always remember the adage
- Let your child learn from everyday experiences
1. Treat Baby Talk as a Real Conversation
The sounds and gestures infants make might not seem to have any meaning to it, but it’s their own way of communicating with you. Science emphasises that you should encourage baby talk and treat it as a real conversation your little one is trying to have. That’s why it is critical that you praise and encourage your child.
So respond to their coos, babbles and seemingly meaningless actions, and talk to them; because the number of words a baby is exposed to, can determine the number of words a child will produce by age two.
Just engage them in almost everything you do across your day by interacting with them as you go about doing what you do. And if you can do it creatively using a clear and sing-songy voice with good modulation, the results can be surprising and very encouraging.
Interacting with your little one during play is a method to teach reading skills. Isn’t that reason enough to take baby babbles very seriously and encourage it by all means?
2. Take Child Play Very Seriously
When young children play, they are learning and building some important life skills. Make-Believe play, also called Pretend Play, allows them to imagine and experience what it’s like to be someone else and understand others’ feelings.
For instance, when they engage with pretend play toys, like a train, and as if it can fly; they imagine new worlds that don’t exist.
It not only sparks creativity and language part of the brain, it also helps them learn to express their imagination and ideas through words. That’s why play is considered one among the 8 best ways to stimulate brain development during early childhood.
When they play with a peer group, they’re learning to take turns, therefore learning to wait, compromise, give, appreciate, celebrate victories, handle defeats and even delay gratification.
They are learning to problem-solve situations and are oozing with creativity to create new possibilities. What may seem like just ordinary childish fun from an adult’s perspective, is actually major event that is unfolding from their point of view.
Facilitate play for your child as much as you can, as it is one of the most powerful things to do to make your child smarter.
3. Read to Your Baby
While talking to your child is critically important, reading to your little one opens up innumerable learning opportunities. Children can learn so fast, they can discriminate a majority of the different sounds used in different languages when they are just 3!
What it means is that every time you read out loud to your children, you are actually building their language skills and vocabulary. Make sure you point at the pictures in the book while reading and ask questions about the story, the characters, what they are wearing, etc.
The best thing about reading to babies is that they not only get exposed to new words, it also helps them build a habit for reading and love for books.
As the popular saying goes: Leaders are readers. So be the reason why they start reading early. After all, it is one of the most powerful things to do to make your child smarter.
4. Always Remember the Adage
As the popular adage goes: Children learn what they see.
That’s why babies are the world’s youngest and best impersonators. They pick up on every nuance of not only what they but how you do it too. Until they talk, they are busy (literally) becoming face-reading and body-language experts of their own kind, keenly observing your words and actions.
The way you smile, how much you smile, the way you laugh, how loud you laugh, the way you frown and the tone with which you talk when you frown, the way you treat different people differently; all are just some of the many, many things they observe in you – day in and day out.
And that’s why, if you have observed, they more often than not mirror those behaviours they say in you. The things they mimic repeatedly is what translates into their attitudes and attributes, over time.
That’s why you should be who you want your baby to be. And for that to happen, you should make them see in you, what you want to see in them.
5. Let Your Child Learn From Everyday Experiences
A child’s life is all about being curious, exploring things around and learning from experiences. Whatever they see you doing every day, be it making the bed, sorting laundry, cooking, eating or running errands; all these simple everyday activities can be great moments they can learn from.
So narrate the task that you are doing to stimulate language. For instance, say “I am mixing washing powder in the washing machine… and now the machine is mixing the powder and water”, etc.
Just don’t think about whether or how much they are able to understand. That’s insignificant in the overall scheme of things, as they will learn what they will learn – at their own pace.
Do things like counting as you sort out laundry, which is a great way to introduce them to numbers. Play with food ingredients and its different textures to introduce them to sensory recognition. Make different faces to introduce them to how various emotions look.
Caution: Make conscious effort to never look at screens of any kind while you interact with them. There are studies that show it makes them feel less important and could manifest adversely in many ways at a later stage. So make every moment count, which will make every single day with your child count.
Even if your little one gets little exposure of these five powerful things to do to make your child smarter, they will dramatically improve their chances to not just survive, but thrive when they grow into an adult.
The best thing about these five things, is that it has got nothing to do with any of the material or financial resources you have. It has to do, entirely, with just two things:
The amount of time you allocate for your child – every day.
How deeply are you engaged when you are with your child – every day.
Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.