By: Hannah Tong of Omaby.com
In this post let’s talk about the top ten activities that help kids become healthier and more intelligent at a young age. The first ten years of your kids’ life is considered as the window of opportunity. Everything that they do at this time can improve the wiring in their brains. It’s no surprise that reading can benefit your kids’ intelligence but so do games, sports, and other activities. Being smart is not a learned skill. Rather, it’s absorbed. Thus, parents can create the right atmosphere for them to grow smarter. So, here are some of the most common practices that allow your kids to become smarter and healthier.
1. Let them learn how to make music
Learning music allows kids to be smarter. They can perform better on standardized tests and they have higher GPAs. One of the music-making activities that your children can do is taking piano lessons. By simply listening to Mozart could trigger an increase in your kids’ spatial intelligence. Thus, it’s highly likely that they could have a higher IQ when they grow old.
2. Be in good shape
Being in good condition can increase your kids’ ability to learn. That’s because after exercising, they can pick up new vocabulary faster than others who don’t exercise. An exercise regimen increases blood flow to the part of the brain that focuses on memory and learning.
3. Read with them
When your kids are learning to read, don't just let them stare at the images of the book? Instead of reading to them, make sure that you read with them. It could help in building their reading skills. Reading with them will promote early literacy, even to disadvantaged children. But make sure that shared book reading is done with specific attention to help in developing kids’ reading skills and strategies.
4. Let them eat a healthy breakfast
Your kids’ brain needs nutrients to function well. These nutrients will include iron, vitamins A, and B, as well as zinc and folic acid. If your kids eat a healthy breakfast every day, they can have better memory with longer attention spans. They can start with whole grain cereals or oatmeal. These two options are great to start their day compared to sugary cereals. If they’re still babies, breastfeeding is known to improve their health and intelligence.
5. Put them to bed early
Studies showed that kids with regular bedtimes are better at math and reading, as well as learning languages. Preschoolers should have at least 11 hours of sleep. Kids up to age 12 must have 10 hours of sleep. In fact, a loss of just an hour of sleep could be a loss of two years of cognitive development. Thus, every minute of sleep counts. So, never allow your kids to be sleep deprived if you want them to be more intelligent and healthier later on in their lives.
6. Let them learn a new language
Bilingual kids could focus better when they’re under pressure. They could also remember better than kids who only know one language. The peak of the ability to learn a new language ends before puberty. Thus, teach your child new languages, so they become fluent and have a perfect pronunciation. It’s not only learning a second language, but it also helps them know about other cultures. Multi-linguals are more creative thinkers than those who only speak one language. Their brain functions also stay sharper as they grow old.
7. Limit their screen time
Technology, specifically television and tablets, can help your kids in learning a lot of things. However, if you want them to develop their social skills and do their homework well, make sure that you limit their screen time. Studies have also shown that TV doesn’t have educational benefits to kids who are under two years of age. Your kids could learn a lot more efficiently if you allow them to have real interactions with things and people, instead of those situations that appear on video screens. Even though learning could also take place from the media, it’s not as efficient as a conventional type of education.
8. Let them play on their own
Unstructured playtime is considered a vital part of being a kid because of its role in the child’s development. In fact, over parenting is associated with several psychological problems. With free play, children can develop their cognitive and social skills allowing them to be healthy and happy adults later in life. Free play allows your kids to build their creativity and learn how to come up with new, unique ideas. It also helps in the development of their motor planning skills that allow them to carry out motor actions and activities. Plus, it fosters their decision- making skills as they practice making choices while they play alone or in a group.
9. Praise them for their effort, not their intelligence
It’s okay to praise them when they do well but avoid praising them for their intelligence. Kids are smart but focus your praise when they succeed in completing tasks. If you praised them for their intelligence, they would feel that it’s a fixed trait and mistakes could hurt their self-confidence. Instead, praise your kids on efforts because they would grow up not afraid of a challenge. They would also not fear of failing so they would try again and again to succeed.
These ten activities that help kids become healthier and more intelligent at a young age could truly assist your children in growing up to be smart and healthy. But you must remember that intelligence is not everything. You also need to teach them ethics and empathy, so they grow up to be a better person.
Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health.