Investing in Your Kid’s Intelligence

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A child’s intelligence is like a business. It grows proportionately to the amount of investment, and uncontrolled liabilities can limit its growth. Most businesses are not limited to one branch or field — the same way your child’s abilities are not limited to being smart or being good at sports.

Build a Good Foundation

Babies can distinguish sounds and learn languages at 6 months and their eyes develop well enough to read at 10 months. Babies are like sponges. They can absorb the meaning of words by inferring and reading body language. Their ability to distinguish letters and words has been documented by numerous education and childcare specialists.

Proper speech and constant communication are essential in teaching language. A language teacher won’t use baby talk or simple speech to teach students, and you shouldn’t do the same to your child. Talk as if you are talking to an adult and don’t encourage baby talk to anyone in contact with your child. If you can speak more than one language at a conversational level, use the less common ones at home. Kids can easily pick up the local language once they start interacting with other kids or start preschool.

Flashcards work remarkably well in teaching babies to read. Start with whole words and don’t bother teaching the alphabet. Babies will eventually recognize the pattern of how the different letters sound after seeing a few dozen words. If you have a piano, you can even teach babies to recognize notes — granting them perfect pitch. Note that the best time to teach your kids language, words, and notes is before the age of 6.

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Manage Overhead

Unproductive or even harmful distractions can delay or even limit the growth of your child’s intelligence. Television, tablets, laptops, and phones often have negative side effects on learning — some of them permanent. A study by Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center revealed that watching television increased the risk of ADHD in children below 3 years of age. Each hour of television per day increased the risk of attention problems by 10 percent once the subjects reach 7 years of age.

The rise of ADHD in the U.S. has been attributed to the advent of cable and child-focused channels that broadcast cartoons 24/7. Laptops, tablets, and phones have similar effects. Tempting as it may to just sit your child in front of a TV or tablet to watch his/her favorite movie, doing so will have adverse — and even permanent — effects. Opt for more constructive and imaginative forms of entertainment.

Building blocks or construction set toys, for example, challenge their creativity and problem-solving skills — all the while, stimulating imagination. Take him/her outside and have him/her play with friends in the park. Games like tag, four square, and hopscotch are a lot of fun and also train athleticism and coordination.

Strengthen PR

Every company needs a good PR team. While you can’t make friends for your child — you can at least teach basic social norms. Allow your child to socialize with kids his/her age, or even older kids if he/she wants it. Siblings and cousins are great for social growth, but so are neighbors and friends. Encourage your child to speak his/her mind and goad him/her to start conversations with acquaintances. Social interactions when young can strengthen the development of confidence and social skills as an adult.

Minimize Weaknesses

The trope of jocks and nerds mostly exists in the U.S. In Asian countries, the trope is top student or over-achiever. Being intelligent doesn’t automatically make you bad at sports, and being good at sports won’t make you slow at learning. NBA superstar Tim Duncan, along with actors Vin Diesel and Joe Manganiello, share a love for Dungeons and Dragons — the geekiest game there is. It is difficult to picture the three as socially awkward nerds being bullied at school.

Dolph Lundgren has a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and he won the European Karate championship while studying. Some parents are hesitant to raise their kids to become smart because of their fear of bullying. However, raising a child properly allows him/her to be intelligent without sacrificing physical abilities. Toddlers can join certain sports or participate in physical activities. Team sports might be too much for toddlers — but individual sports like gymnastics, martial arts, and swimming are perfectly fine.

The more you invest in a business, the more it grows — and the adage is true to your child’s development. Invest time, effort, and money into your child. Grow his/her potential and expand his/her horizons.

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