Article at a Glance
• Things like playing, cutting back on TV, reading, talking with your child, and finding a good preschool can help improve your child’s intelligence.
• Reading to your child 20 minutes a day can put them as much as a year ahead academically by the time they reach age 15.
• Playing make-believe and interacting with others is an important part of your child’s development.
Turns out that raising a smart kid has nothing to do with dreary flashcards and has everything to do with playing, reading, and chatting with your child.
Here are a few fun and important things you can do to improve your child’s intelligence.
Just like cats learn how to hunt by pouncing on each other, children learn grown-up skills by practicing through play. Playing make-believe and interacting with others teaches children social skills, how to self-regulate, innovation, creative thinking, and self-control.
Turn Off the TV
According to the American Medical Association, children who watch more than an hour of TV a day tend not to do as well academically and struggle with their ability to concentrate. Time in front of the TV means that your children are spending less time playing, interacting with others, exploring, and learning.
Open a Book
Reading to your child 20 minutes a day can put them as much as a year ahead academically by the time they reach age 15. Being read to helps stimulate children’s language development, fosters a love of reading, increases their attention span, and builds brain function.
Studies show that talking to your children regularly gives them a greater exposure to words and increases their vocabulary. Long conversations help children not only learn about language, but it also stimulates their imagination and teaches them more complicated thinking skills.
“Children who attend high-quality preschools enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not,” says National Institute for Early Education Research director W. Steven Barnett, PhD. And studies show that attending a high-quality preschool generally results in a higher income later in life.
What should you look for in a good preschool? A good preschool is not necessarily one with a rigorous academic program. In fact, many argue that a good preschool is one that allows for a lot of playing and socializing. TV and videos should be limited and children should learn their numbers and letters in a way that is fun and accessible. The staff should interact a lot with the children and be caring and responsive. There should be a curriculum in place that encourages your child’s development and teaches an appreciation for learning.