Thursday, May 17, 2007

How to Help Your Kids Be Smarter

As a parent, I'm always on the look out for my kids' best interest. I want to give them the best education, the best food, the best home to live in, the best life possible. So when I came across this article on titled 9 Ways to Make Your Kids Smarter, I was intrigued.

Make Music
It says that learning music helps engage right-brain learning and also helps get better grades in school and higher IQ in adulthood. I'm so glad I've enrolled Dania for piano classes. More importantly, I glad that the whole thing was her idea. It helps when Dania loves these extra activities, rather than me pushing her and becoming a "kiasu" mom.

Everybody knows that breast milk is best for babies, up until they're two years old. I was fortunately to be able to breastfeed both my kids; Dania up until 4 months old, Dina up until 10 months old. Breastfeeding not only gave my kids a head start in life but also benefited me by helping me heal faster from the effects of labour.

Foster Fitness
Playing games not only benefits the body but also benefits the brain and self image as it helps cultivate confidence, teamwork and leadership. The girls go to the playground nearly everyday (unless its raining) and since last month, we've been taking them for swimming sessions. They're still too young to show any interest in any organized sports but whatever they participate in, be it badminton or bowling or archery, you'll be sure I'll be there on the sidelines to cheer them on.

Play Video Games
Not violent games like CS or World of Warcraft although it has been proven that professional gamers do have a higher percentage of brain activity than non-gamers. We're talking more along the line of educational games such as the classic Pacman, Leapfrog or games you can find at children-friendly sites like or sesame street, which help kids to enhance their motor skills. I hardly let the girls near my laptop because of their grubby hands but maybe when they're a bit older, I give them 30 minutes or so a day playing computer games. Or maybe this would be a good excuse for hubby to buy PS2 (3?).

Junk the Junk Food
Twisties, Ding Dang and the sorts all contain too much salt and sugar and can reduce children's' ability to fight infections. Fortunately this is one area of parenting that both hubby and I agree on; no junk food for our kids. The occasional chocolate, ok. Potato chips and such, no. We help boost the girls' immune system by feeding them fruit and vegetables. Luckily the girls aren't fussy eaters and they loooovvveee vegetables.

Nurture Curiosity
When your kids sometimes ask questions like "why is the sky blue", and "why is grass green" and other questions that drive you crazy, that's good. Appreciate their enthusiasm to seek knowledge and take them to places that would only make them ask more questions like the museum, the aquarium, the zoo and the planetarium. Help them explore new ideas. The girls love it when we take them out, even trips to the supermarket is bound to bring about thousand of questions about the different people and goods found there.

This is a no-brainer. However recent studies have shown that Malaysians are not active readers (I beg to differ, though). I remember when I was in school, I was in the school library nearly every day during recess time. I love books and thankfully my hobby has spilled over to the girls. I find our reading time together not only educational but also a great time for family-bonding.

Breakfast Breeds Champions
Unfortunately, this is one area I could do better for my kids. I buy cereal and bread but the girls are more likely to drink their milk than have a bowl of Frosties. But they say even a glass of milk is better than nothing as kids that go without breakfast have trouble concentrating and get tired easily (most likely due to hunger pains).

Play Mind Games
Chess, crosswords, cryptograms, riddles—they all train the brain to perform mental gymnastics. The girls love to do puzzles like Find The Hidden Object and Find The Differences between the Two Pictures. I love Sudoku!! Hubby? He plays "mind games" at the office, hehehehe...

So whether your kid was born a natural Einstein or not, there are several ways that we as parents can help boost their intelligence. Question is, do we spend the time and effort?