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How to Bring Out the Genius in Your Child

Updated on May 7, 2008

Bringing out the Genius in Your Child


Nurturing the genius in your child is simpler than you think! The modern instant gratification, make it complicated and expensive mindset often leads well-intentioned parents in search of the perfect product to nurture their child's inner genius. The secret, however, is cheaper, more accessible, and simpler than you might think. Numerous studies, including one conducted by the Smithsonian Institute, report three common threads to an emergent genius' childhood.

According to the Smithsonian Institute, the first key to nurturing the genius in your child is to surround her with loving, engaged adults. Parents, of course, are the primary influence on a child's inner genius. Other nurturing adults include grandparents, retired neighbors, or parishioners. The goal is to enrich your child's life with significant positive adult interaction. The choice of activities with your child's new friend is vast. Playing games, putting together puzzles, and exploring the child's surroundings are all positive options.

For the very young, classic games such as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders teach pre-readers colors, tracking skills and the social skills of taking turns and winning and losing graciously. Encourage a child's ability to concentrate by playing matching and memory games. Do not hesitate to teach children as young as 8 to play card games such as Hearts and Pinochle that require her to remember what cards have been played. Other positive games include those that depend upon strategy. Begin with checkers and it will not be long before your little genius challenges even the savviest adult to a game of chess! Puzzles are an excellent means to develop hand-eye coordination, visual perception, and spatial reasoning. Begin with inlaid puzzles and introduce more challenging jigsaw puzzles as soon as the child is ready.

Other rewarding time spent with a child encourages him to quietly observe his world. Take a walk; identify plants, bugs, rocks, and the type of clouds overhead. Point out the position of the sun, a storm rolling in, or a bird's song. Explore the wonders of a child's surroundings. Include the child in your daily chores and teach him to work alongside you; both the child and the adult will be enriched.

Children also flourish in a print-rich environment. Books are the best investment parents can make in their child's future. If your budget does not allow you to purchase books then make liberal use of your local library. If possible buy books AND regularly visit the library. Do not neglect reading the books to your child. You might tire of reading his favorite book over and over again but never mind! He is deriving immense pleasure from the sound of the words, the pictures, and your attention. Reading to a child develops print awareness; letters on a page are combined in a specific order to represent spoken words. Instill in him the delight that one day he can decipher the wonder of print for himself. Do not neglect reading to a child once he has begun reading. He will still enjoy listening to stories that are beyond his reading level. Of course it is always a treat to listen to him read aloud. The point is to give your child easy access to books and model the joy of reading.

Your child need hours of uninterrupted, unstructured playtime. Play is a child's work. Turn off the television and allow her to imaginatively explore her world. Visit the forest, seaside, meadow, or a large vacant field as often as possible. At other times turn a blind eye to the mess and let your genius explore her creative side with crayons, markers and paints. Let her make a tent over the dining room table and scatter building blocks and legos across the family room. Your child does not need lots of toys; she needs lots of unstructured time and the opportunity to exercise her imaginations. Allow your child to explore, schedule ample unscheduled time to play and she will do the rest.

While providing your child with ample adult attention, a print-rich environment, and unstructured playtime do not neglect to instill a sense of responsibility within him toward his home and others through chores and community service. Then stand back and enjoy the fruits of your attention!


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      Lanre 7 years ago

      Hi Mary,

      Great useful and inexpensive tips to investing in the future. more importantly i think all these creates a bond between the child and the parent which helps to lay a great foundation for freindship relationship for the future. many thanks