Tip 119: August 2018 – Raising Smart Children
Website Educational Tips for Cognitive Development
The Baldridges, in their book Professors’ Family Secrets for Raising Very Smart Children, stated that there were many ways adults can help children become enthusiastic and successful learners. Children grow up so quickly that adults often fail to realize they have only about 10 or 12 years to have a lasting impact upon the lives of children, after that it is their peers who have the most impact on behaviors. The following are creative real-life tips that adults can use to enrich children’s lives as well as strengthening family ties, and take advantage of time spent with them.
Infants: Children learn in the context of important relationships. This is especially important with infants. Adults are often so busy in their day to day lives that many opportunities and time just seem to slip by, but they can find the time through routine activities to cuddle babies and provide stimulating experiences. The best way to help infants to grow into curious, confident, able learners is to give them warm consistent care so that they can form secure attachments to those who care for them.
Rubbing With Love – After changing the infant’s diaper place a quarter-size dab of lotion on one of your hands. Rub lotion on the baby’s chest, back, belly, toes etc. While rubbing talk about the body part you are rubbing. “I’m putting lotion on your toes. How many toes do you have? 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Yes you have 10 toes!”
Toddlers: Abstract concepts can become concrete forming long-lasting impressions, when they are physically experienced. Intellectual and sensory systems are geared for making sense of the world through physical activities.
Bean Bag Toss – Have the toddlers throw bean bags into a box or large pot or even hula hoops to help them to develop eye hand coordination.
Preschoolers: Experiences involving social interaction strengthen children’s sense of belonging, and help them become part of their community. When they have a sense of belonging it’s easier to reach out to others and adapt to new environments. Help children to know themselves well, both their strengths and their weaknesses. The following activity provides a way for children to learn not only about themselves but about their place in their world.
Family Tree – Conversations about family origins will give children a chance to discuss the ways and reasons people move from place to place. Make up a family tree with pictures of parents and grandparents and find where they came from on a map.
Role Models: Adults are models for children; they often copy adults’ feelings and attitudes, as well as language and mannerisms. It’s almost impossible to hide feelings from children. They are always looking to adults for cues about how to behave, and children become very acute observers of subtle expressions that convey adult’s attitudes. With all this in mind how do we integrate what we know about the way children learn into our everyday lives with children? Remember, early childhood is the prime age for learning. Each new level of mastery leads to new challenges, and with new challenges come new opportunities. Takes this time to set good examples for them to imitate, and don’t forget to allow them years of practice.
THE UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING. (Socrates)