If you want your child to be intelligent, you should pay close attention to what happens in the formative years. Formative years can be called Early Childhood which is between 0-8 years of a child’s life.
It is also a period of a rapid cognitive (intellectual), social, emotional and physical development of a child.
It is important you start early especially between 0-5 years for a better result in the nearest future and its effect is lifelong.
For almost 2 decades in my teaching career, I have observed that children who exhibit great level of intelligence at school have used the same secret as explained below:
Talk to your toddler – a lot.
A young brain is very malleable, that’s why it is easy for your toddler to learn language. Children learn a language by hearing words over and over. The more words your toddler hears, the more neural connections his brain makes. That’s why the more you talk to your child, the better.
Use a diverse vocabulary as much as possible. This provides him a good foundation for reading, writing and spelling skills.
Read to your toddler.
Parents should read to children because reading to a child is critical to language development in the first three years of life. One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, is to read with them.
That means starting when they are newborns and not even able to talk, and continuing well beyond the years that they can read by themselves. Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves, and reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world.
Many studies show that students who love learning and do well in school were exposed to reading before preschool. Reading to your child has a lot of other important benefits to his brain.
Choose toys (educational materials) that are open-ended and leave playing to the imagination.
Toys that run on your kid’s imagination are better than those that run on AA batteries. Also, to foster your toddler’s natural creativity, create a play environment that’s imagination-friendly. See ideal materials
Teach your toddler independence and resilience.
Ever heard of the phrase: “Never do for a child what they can do for themselves?” My children (both below age 5) began mopping from 18months! My 2-year old daughter recently tried dressing up in pyjamas and she really did a good job.
She only comes to me when she is stuck and needs intervention. When your toddler falls, let him pick himself up by himself. As early as possible, teach him to feed himself and take care of his belongings.
Learning a second language, or being bilingual, is found to boost a toddler’s brain function
The best time to teach your child a second language is the same time she’s learning her first one. Kids this age are developing language skills rapidly, and they quickly absorb whatever they hear,” says Erika Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of speech and language pathology at Columbia University Teachers College, in New York City.
“They can learn to understand new words in two different languages at an incredibly fast rate.” And you don’t need to enroll your child in formal language classes to hear her repeat words and songs in a new tongue — just listen in when she’s watching television shows like Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego Go! and Sesame Street, which teach basic Spanish words to the preschool set.
You may also consider having a bilingual caregiver or a child-appropriate foreign language program.
Let your child play
Play nurtures development and fulfils your child’s inborn need to learn. Play takes many forms, from shaking a rattle to peek-a-boo to hide-and-seek. Play can be done by a child alone, with another child, in a group or with an adult.
Through play, children learn to make and practise new sounds. They try out new vocabulary, on their own or with friends, and exercise their imagination through storytelling.
Limit Screen-time drastically
Whether you keep the TV on all the time or the whole family sits around staring at their smartphones, too much screen time could be harmful. Do not allow your toddler to watch too much TV.
Studies indicate that young children who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies.
I have carefully listed fun and simple activities to replace screen time for toddlers, which will help improve their intelligence quotient in my E-book
Temitayo Otakponmwenhi (Mrs.)
Educational Consultant/Jolly Phonics Trainer