6 Gifts to Help you Raise a Smarter Child
Mighty Mommy shares these six gifts that can really make a difference when trying to raise a smarter child.
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As another holiday season cruises into a brand new year, I tend to always focus on how well I parented the year before and what I can do to improve my parenting skillset for the year ahead.
One common factor most parents share is how they can raise an independent, smart child. As a mom of eight, I certainly realize how important it is to foster creativity and curiosity while raising children. While we don’t have to necessarily raise Einstein’s, there are some easy, common-sense gifts we can offer our children to enable them to be the keenest, smartest individuals they can aspire to be. Today, Mighty Mommy shares these six gifts that can really make a difference when trying to raise a smarter child.
Gift #1: The Gift of Music. Studies have shown that listening to music can boost memory, attention, motivation and learning. It can also lower stress that is destructive to your kid’s brain. Another study has also shown that children’s brains develop faster with music training. Music instruction appears to accelerate brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception, and reading skills, according to initial results of a five-year study by USC neuroscientists. We can start gifting our children with music as early as birth by singing lullabies to them and letting them listen to music on their crib mobiles. Young toddlers enjoy watching shows such as Sesame Street where lots of whimsical singing is done. My kids loved listening to sing-a-long CDs in the car as well as experimenting with instruments such as homemade drums or playing on toy keyboards. Once they start going to school kids will be introduced to more structured music by the way of chorus and band. If they see that their parents have a genuine appreciation for music and the arts, they are more likely to follow suit and continue exploring musical options until they find the instrument or singing venue that suits them best.
Gift #2: The Gift of Exercise. The benefits of exercise for all human beings are many, but our kids and their growing bodies truly do benefit from staying active in so many ways. Because a good workout gets your blood flowing, more oxygen gets to your brain. And that means you can think better. Exercise may: keep you from zoning out in class or while doing your homework; improve your scores on tests; help you get better grades; and help you sleep better. When you exercise, your brain gets the message that you're tired at night. Exercise can also help put you in a better mood. It affects chemicals in your brain. And those can change how you feel. When you move, you can get more energy so you feel good and can do things you want to do, like sports, dance, playing an instrument, or reading, feel better when you’re stressed out, and stay calmer when you have to give a class presentation or take a test.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children and adolescents participate in moderate-to-vigorous exercise at least 60 minutes every day.
In an article written by Gretchen Reynolds titled Phys Ed: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter? The author cited a study that followed a group of 9 and 10 year olds who lived near the Champaign-Urbana campus of the University of Illinois and asked them to run on a treadmill. The researchers were hoping to learn more about how fitness affects the immature human brain. They showed that fit children had significantly larger basal ganglia, a key part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control,” or the ability to coordinate actions and thoughts crisply.
The bottom line is that exercise is not only good for keeping our bodies healthy, but it also plays an important part in keeping our brain and minds healthy, so by implementing a regular exercise routine into your family’s busy lives you’ll be helping them do better in school as well as lay a foundation for a healthy lifestyle well into their adult years.
Gift #3: The Gift of Reading Together. Many studies have proven the positive correlation between a child's development and family reading time. But when we read together with our kids, it creates a connection and a common interest as well as helps them start to build good reading skills which are essential for a lifetime of learning. Got a little one who is learning to read? Don’t let them just stare at the pictures in a book while you do all the reading.
Call attention to the words. Read with them, not to them. Research shows it helps build their vocabulary and enhances their early reading skills. And when our kids see how much we enjoy reading in our free time as well as spending quality time with them snuggled up and enjoying a good book together, again, we’re laying a strong foundation for a lifetime of enjoying a rich, literary world. See Also: 5 Ways to Get Your Kids Reading