As a parent and a curious human being, I constantly look for ways to improve the wellbeing of my kids and help them develop their potential. However, parenting often comes with a level of bias that is difficult to tackle on my own, so I look to research and academic professionals to specialize in a specific area in which I’m interested. Currently, my focus is on whether or not, and to what extent, certain lifestyle habits can help our kids become smarter. I am aware that genetics does play a significant role in this process, while the environment in which they grow up, learn, and form their values also shapes them into smart youngsters who will later develop their intelligence even further.
The following are some of the most scientifically-backed habits you can share with your children to help them realize their intellectual potential, all for the purpose of leading happy, fulfilled lives as they grow into independent individuals.
Teach them to handle money
When they are young, our children depend on us to buy them anything and everything they need, and they will continue to do so well into their teens. However it is important for them to learn the value of money and items they want. So teaching them how to save money or to manage it using a secure pocket money app is a great way to get them interested and combine it with their love of technology.
Learning to play an instrument
Even though it’s unrealistic to expect that every child will grow up to become the next Mozart, no matter how hard we wish them to, there is a high level of truth in the idea that music education allows for improved intelligence in kids. A study of children that came from impoverished families in the US has shown that kids who mastered an instrument also had much better chances to finish high school as well as academic education. Unlike their peers from the same neighborhoods, the kids who learned to play an instrument gained a significant learning advantage that propelled them to success even later in life.
When your kids start to learn how to handle an instrument, how to listen to musical structures and then reproduce them, their brains extend this ability to their language learning and other cognitive abilities. In turn, this connection helps them develop their brains better and improve their overall learning capacity. Including regular physical activity
Most children are naturally inclined to be active, and this desire is further enhanced when you raise them in a family that leads the same, fitness-oriented lifestyle. As an active mom, I’ve noticed that my kids have showed an interest in how I spend my time during my workouts and why I choose to eat a certain diet. However, there is a huge discrepancy between their natural inclination towards active play and them being surrounded by technology. It serves as a distraction that keeps kids glued to a screen more than we’d like, so they might have a tendency to grow up into more sedentary individuals.
How your kids will perceive activity will not only help them prevent numerous diseases and stay healthy, but it will also help them grow smarter. Physical exercise has been shown to improve memory, learning, and other cognitive skills, in kids as well as adults. Go out with your kids into the park and cycle together, play volleyball, go for a swim, or just play fetch with your family fluff-ball. It boils down to enforcing a positive attitude towards being active, as most kids already have this natural tendency to begin with.
Ensuring healthy dietary habits
I’ve already mentioned that my own kids notice what we eat and my regular work out – so they naturally want to mimic my behavior, as I’m one of their strongest role-models, much like their dad. Since day one, we have implemented a healthy menu, and helped our kids develop a taste for healthy snacks, without completely banning the not-so-healthy ones. It seems that scientific studies on the matter support this approach, as our kids’ brains truly do depend on what they eat.
Even a single nutrient such as omega-3 fatty acids can play a key role in your kids’ brain development, hence the need to tailor a diet plan that will be versatile and serve as true “brain food” for your little ones. While it’s relatively easy to ensure they eat healthy at home, parents now have the option to have healthy meals delivered to their kids’ schools to ensure they get a proper meal even outside of the house. That is a great way to create an all-around healthy eating system until your youngsters grow more independent.
Sticking to a healthy bedtime routine
Another simple, yet often overlooked habit in kids, is the quality of their sleep for their cognitive development. Some kids may be restless sleepers, or wake up frequently during the night, in which case perhaps your youngsters need more physical activity during the day, less screen-time before bed, and an unwinding routine such as a soothing bath right before sleep. Research shows a correlation between poor sleep patterns in kids and cognitive performance, leading to a lowered IQ as well as a cognitive decline in certain skills.
During their early years of development, it’s crucial that they sleep long enough and without interruptions, so as to enable their growing brains to develop fully. This goes on into their adolescence, where poor sleep habits often lead to poor performance in school. As a parent, you can do so much to help your little ones get the right amount and quality of sleep, and in doing so, you will help them fully develop their intellectual abilities.