Can you give your child's intelligence a boost? According to science, it's possible! However, scientists often cite the first ten years of a child's life as the 'window of opportunity.' Everything at this time is critical to improving the 'wiring' of a person's brain.
Capital Area Pediatrics Pediatrician Dr. Hanita Oh-Tan recently sat down with ABC News Channel 7 to share 10 ways to ways to make your kids smarter, based on her experience as well as an article by Time Magazine. Let's take a look:
- Music. Okay, so you may not want your child to aspire to be a rockstar (or maybe you do), but music lessons have been shown to help make kids smarter. On average, music students perform better on standardized tests and have higher overall GPAs. In one experiment, it was found that taking piano lessons even helped raised IQ significantly.
- Physical Activity.In a 2007 study, German researchers found that after exercise, people pick up new vocabulary words 20% faster! Another study shows that for 9 and 10-year-olds, 20 minutes of exercise before a test significantly improves test scores.
- Reading.When reading to your kids, don't let them just stare at the pictures while you do all the work! Share the task with them, as this will help them build their reading skills. When reading is shared between you and your little one, it promotes early literacy, even among disadvantaged children.
- Sleep. The benefits of sleep for brain development are endless. Studies have shown a correlation between grades and the average amount of sleep a child gets. In fact, it has been found that a loss of just one hour of sleep is equivalent to a loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development.
- Self-Discipline.Students with high levels of self-discipline are more likely to earn higher grades in their classes. They also tend to have fewer absences and spend less time watching television and more hours doing school work. Self-discipline has also been found to predict which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not.
- Active Learning.Skip the brain training games and apps and opt for a more active learning approach. While many of us love our screens and apps, our brains learn more by doing things - not by hearing about them. Consider using the rule of two-thirds to help make active learning activities more beneficial as well. For example, if you want your child to memorize a passage, have them spend 30% of their time reading it, and the other 70% testing their knowledge about what they just read.
- Treats (At the Right Time). While it’s best if kids eat healthy all the time, there are always exceptions. Research shows that caffeine and sugar can have a beneficial effect on cognitive performance when consumed in moderation.
- Happiness. When a child is happy they are much more engaged and interested in their learning. Social-emotional factors are continually being studied by scientists, and many reports have concluded that happy children are more willing to learn, more curious, and in turn, are smarter.
- Positive Peers.A study conducted at Dartmouth College found that a child's peer group has powerful influence over them. When students with low grade-point averages mixed with higher-scoring students, their grade-point average increased.
- Support. In a study carried out by Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, elementary school teachers were told that they had certain students in their class who excelled at academics. These students were selected at random. At the end of the school year, 30% of the children selected had gained an average of 22 IQ points, and almost all had gained at least 10 IQ points. Moral of the story? Believing your kid is smarter than average makes a difference.
How you help your child develop intellectually affects him through adulthood.
If you have concerns about your child’s cognitive development, Capital Area Pediatrics is here to help. We are able and ready to address any of your questions or concerns. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!