Boosting Your Child’s IQ: These Expert-Recommended Tips and Activities Guarantee Results!
How’s the lockdown feeling so far? Are you and the kids doing just fine, with a daily routine sketched out and followed? Or are you starting to get a little stressed and frustrated, wondering how to keep entertaining your young children while they’re stuck indoors, watching more and more TV?
With informative sessions with parental and child educators, doctors, scientists and coaches, FirstCry Intelli is bringing you all the answers you’ve been looking for! Whether it’s about how to keep your child engaged or how to boost his IQ at home, FirstCry Intelli and its Summer Camp are your one-stop shop for everything you need to know for your child’s development.
One such professional that FirstCry Intelli teamed up with Ms. Lahar Bhatnagar. She has a background in developmental neuroscience (study of brain development in foetuses), she is a certified parental coach with her own resource called Nirvanama (uses science for everyday parenting), and she is the author of a parenting book called “100 ways to be a stress free mom and raise happy kids”, with another one coming up called “Millennial Parenting Hacks”.
Ms. Bhatnagar is big on using science in her parenting methods. With her neuroscience background, she believes in taking strong, research-based approaches to everyday child problems, from focus and concentration issues, to anger and tantrums, to developing emotional intelligence.
If you’ve got the time, check out our wonderful session with her below! If you would prefer a quick read of the informative points she covered, scroll on down.
One of the first things that our parental coach and expert clarifies is the difference between ‘intelligence’ and ‘IQ’. Intelligence is not based on how high or low your child’s IQ is, and thus an IQ score is a poor judge of intelligence. In simple terms, how intelligent your child is cannot be based only on his academic performance!
Human intelligence is actually made up of four parts:
- Logic and analysis
- Emotional intelligence
Ms. Bhatnagar says that creativity is the most important part of intelligence (most successful leaders and CEOs are very creative individuals), and that emotional intelligence is unfortunately the most ignored part. She stresses on the importance of developing all four parts and not focusing on only one aspect of human intelligence.
A mother of two herself, she has hands-on experience of dealing with the everyday challenges that face parents when it comes to child development. She has created 9 activities that can be practiced to boost your child’s intelligence – his memory, his logic centre, his creativity, and his emotional intelligence. They are suitable for children up to 10 years of age.
These activities have a scientific base, and require only minimal equipment and parent-child interaction. She advises following these two mantras in your parenting style – “keep it simple”, and “be consistent”. Thus, these activities are very simple, do not take more than 5 minutes, and should be practiced regularly – daily, if possible. Most importantly, they are also a lot of fun, and honestly, that’s all that kids need!
Let’s find out what these intelligence-boosting activities are!
Activities for Improving Memory
Ms. Bhatnagar points out that the memory centre of the brain, called the hippocampus, is very flexible and mouldable. This means that it is very open to learning new things, there is no limit to the amount of information it can store, and that basically, anything can be taught to anyone at any age!
1. Card Matching Game
This is a super-simple game that only requires 10 to 14 pieces of plain paper, and a pen. Choose 5 to 7 items that your child is able to recognize (numbers, alphabets, shapes, animals, colours, etc.), and draw two of each item on the pieces of paper. On a flat surface (table, floor or mattress), lay the cards face-down, randomly. Let your child turn one card over, and try to find its pair by turning another card over. If they match, remove them and keep aside. If they don’t match, turn them back and let your child choose again.
The objective of this game is for your child to remember what cards are placed where, so that as he keeps turning them over, he can recall seeing the image before and thus find the matching pair.
You can also use playing cards for this game!
2. Language Skill Game
This game is for children over the age of 5. It is very handy when learning a new language, and you’ll have fun learning it along with your child!
Write down 10 simple words in the language your child speaks comfortably. These words can be beach, dinner, bathroom, etc. Then, write down their corresponding words in the new language. Teach your child these new words. Then, repeat the process of the card matching game above, and let your child find the matching words in the two languages!
3. Storybook Play
If your child is not the kind to sit down and do an activity, then this fun little game will be just the thing to engage his mind. You can include all the family members in this, too!
Ask your child to choose his favourite storybook or fairy tale. Divide the characters in the story among yourselves – your child can be the main protagonist, and you and the other family members can take up the supporting roles. The goal of this game is for your child to memorize the dialogues of his character. This will greatly help in memory retrieval (recalling the right memory at the right time).
Dramatize the story and make a little play out of it. You can even dress up, put on rehearsals, and videotape the play to send to friends and family! It will be a super fun and engaging project for him, while also contributing to boosting his memory.
Activities for Improving Logic and Analysis
1. Take something apart.
Take a simple pen (ball pen, spring pen, etc.). Give it to your child, and help him dismantle it and take the pieces apart. It’s best to supervise this, as the pointy nib or a sharp edge could hurt him. During the dismantling, your child will ask you questions about the various parts of the pen (the nib, the ink tube, the top and bottom screw-ons, etc.). Do your best to answer him, as it will give him clarity about the function of the object in front of him. Once he’s done, help him put the pen back together.
2. Relation Game
Ms. Bhatnagar is a big advocate of this game, saying that her children play it passionately. It’s very important for developing logic and analysis, and it greatly helps to eliminate screen time during meals. It can played around the dining table, or anywhere else, really!
First, one person must choose a word. It can be anything – a name, a colour, a shape, a number, an animal, etc. Let’s say you choose to say the word ‘red’. Then, the person next to you (on the right or left, doesn’t matter!) must say a word that is related to the word ‘red’ – for example, ‘rose’. Then, the next person must say a word related to ‘rose’, like the word ‘perfume’.
The objective is for your child to understand the logic behind the choice of words. This will get his little brain working, and he will be able to analyse the choices and relate them to the logic. It will also help for you to ask him the logic behind the words that she chooses. Being able to explain himself out loud will bring more clarity and understanding!
Ms. Bhatnagar says that the logic centre of your child’s brain does not develop until after 2 years of age. Before this, it is only emotions that drive your child’s decisions and reactions. For example, if your child is throwing a tantrum in public, he will not understand it if you ask him to stop crying because people are looking at him. His little brain is simply not developed enough to comprehend what that means! So, instead of scolding him or getting frustrated, try your best to calm him down by telling him you understand how he feels.
Activities for Improving Creativity
All children are born creative and inquisitive. As parents, you must give your child the liberty to be as creative as he wants. And, at the same time, you must also stand by him, strong as a rock, and not worry about what other people or his peers might say about his creativity.
Creativity is not senseless or nonsensical – there is always some logic behind whatever has been created and imagined. Also, being creative doesn’t mean being good at only art and craft! It means so many more things. It means being able to imagine new worlds, different scenarios, and to think outside the box.
1. Draw made-up animals.
Nothing stimulates a child’s imagination more than making up a world of his own! For this game, print out some simple pictures of animals (or choose them from books or magazines). Give them to your child, and tell him to make up a whole new animal from the different parts of other animals. For example, the new animal can have a horse’s head, a donkey’s legs, a rabbit’s ears, a tiger’s body, and a dog’s tail. He can mix and match as much as he likes. Then, ask him to tell you a story about the animal he has created. Encourage him to think about it and explain the logic of his creativity.
2. Imagine a new planet.
This creative game is for older children (7 years and older). Tell your child that if there is a new planet, and there are no rules on how it should be, then what would that planet be like? Give him the freedom to imagine everything, from the shape and colour of the planet, to the colour of its soil and water, and to the kinds of animals and plants found on it. Let him have as much as fun with it as he wants!
Activities for Improving Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability of a child to understand and manage emotions, both his own and that of others’, as well as show empathy and social awareness. There are other aspects to emotional intelligence, such as self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation, which will all develop as your child grows.
Ms. Bhatnagar stresses on the importance of developing emotional intelligence early on in your child. She says that the reason many children these days are not well-adjusted is because they lack one thing – delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is nothing but knowing how to wait for a good outcome/result. It means that your child does not go for immediate and instant rewards – he knows that patience and waiting will give him a better outcome than the one being presented.
1. The Marshmallow Experiment
This game is based on a research study by the same name that was conducted over a period of 25 years. Similar to the study, this game requires you to place a piece of chocolate/candy/toffee in front of your child. Tell him that you are going out of the room for 5 minutes, and in the meantime, he can eat the chocolate if he wants to. But, if he waits for you to come back, you will give him one more piece, so that he’ll then have two pieces of candy.
In the study that was conducted, some children patiently waited, some children distracted themselves by looking away or singing songs, and some children ate the candy right away. The study followed the children over 25 years, and found that those who had waited, were much more successful in life.
Now, don’t judge your child if he eats the chocolate right away! There are other ways to teach delayed gratification. For example, you can tell him that next time, try singing your favourite song or rhyme, or thinking about your favourite superhero while waiting. Over time, it will get easier for him to practice this.
The main objective of this activity is to help him make the choice between getting immediate rewards and waiting to receive a bigger and better reward.
2. Shape Treasure Hunt
This simple yet fun game will work wonders to help your child understand delayed gratification in another hands-on way.
The next time your child tells you that he wants to watch TV or play on the smartphone/tablet, try this out: say, “Sure, you can watch TV/play on the phone,” (thus assuring him of the reward first), “but in the meantime, can you bring me 5 objects that look like the TV/phone?”
This basically means that he has to find 5 objects that are rectangular in shape. It can be a book, a register, another phone or tablet, etc. This way, he has to wait to receive the reward of being able to watch TV or play on the phone. And, who knows, he might not even want any screen time after this, as he’s found a new game to play!
These are 9 activities that Ms. Lahar Bhatnagar has herself created and tested out with her own children and her many clients, with successful results. However, these aren’t the only activities and tips that you should try!
10 Tips for Mindful Parenting
- Other whole-brain activities to engage your child in are cycling, juggling and dancing.
- Children are supposed to have a minimum of 90 minutes of hard physical activity, in order to use up the oodles of energy they have. Let your child dance, play or run around the house if he is feeling restless or energetic. Lack of outdoor play and too much screen time can lead to lots of pent-up energy!
- Encourage your child to engage in ‘unstructured play’, which means making teams, making up games, and making up rules. This will teach him social skills.
- Add 15 minutes of “bored time” to your child’s routine. Let him lie down and stare up at the ceiling or the fan, or look out of the window or balcony. This will actually help with his focus and concentration! You are teaching him to enjoy doing nothing at all, because children these days are overstimulated – there is always something to do, and their little brains are always at work. A little boredom can allow his brain to rest.
- Allow your child to choose his dominant hand naturally. If he is a leftie, don’t try to make him a rightie! Lefties are more creative, and there is no evidence to support that righties are smarter or more intelligent. Also, if it turns out that your child can write with both hands (i.e. he is ambidextrous), that’s great!
- If your child is not studying, it’s not because he is not intelligent, it’s because there is some lack in focus and concentration. Being focused is based on habit, not intelligence.
- If your child is below 5 years of age, don’t worry if he cannot write properly. The muscles of his hands and fingers are not ready to hold thin pencils and pens yet! Give him fat crayons to draw with, which he can grab with his fist. Focus on his writing abilities after he turns 5 or 6.
- Make his academics fun for him. Don’t put a spotlight on good grades. Focus more on engaging the inquisitive part of him that wants to learn, study, and gain more knowledge! You can do this by playing games, making dramatizations, and making up songs and rhymes.
- At the same time, make his academics his responsibility, not yours. It’s not helpful for him if you keep sitting with him for his studies and homework, as he will come to depend on you for the answers, and it will be a hard habit to shake as he grows older.
- Lastly, if your child is behaving differently during this lockdown, it’s okay. Children hate changes in routine, and it’s up to the parents to explain the changes to them calmly, in order to avoid anger, aggression, and tantrums. Don’t look at this lockdown-induced behaviour as his normal behaviour or personality. Everyone is coping differently – yes, even your little one!
We hope you found this helpful, Mom and Dad! Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child!
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