All too often we assume that kids are either born with a superior level of intelligence or they’re not. This assumption leads many folks to believe that there’s simply not much parents can do to influence how brainy their kids end up.
The truth? Research actually shows that intelligence is pretty much a 50/50 split when it comes to nature vs. nurture. This means that parental influence really can have a huge impact – not just on how smart kids think they are, but also on how intelligent they actually are.
This doesn’t mean you need to overwhelm your young ones with a multitude of math drills and foreign language courses before they’re even walking. Instead, focus on specific behaviors that foster a developing mind and intellect, rather than praising a kid’s natural skills.
Here are some simple everyday things you can do to raise a kid who is intellectually curious:
- Talk to them before they even know what you’re saying.
- Let them hear you engage in meaningful discussions with other people.
- Introduce them to books as soon as you possibly can.
- Use your surroundings to encourage curiosity and exploration.
- Encourage them to actively seek out solutions to a wide variety of problems.
- Consistently praise their efforts, instead of focusing solely on their natural abilities.
- Actively look for teachable moments in everyday life in which you can build their knowledge and thinking skills.
- Teach them what it means to have a growth mindset – and then model for them how to consistently display one.