Even an average child can excel if parents provide right
kind of stimulation to child’s brain. Read on to find out what can parents do
to improve intelligence of children.
Nature vs. Nurture
Is intelligence heriditary or can
it be nurtured? The nature versus nurture debate is one that has
raged long and hard. Innumerable studies have been conducted and what has
been resolved is that intelligence is something that is hereditary, but
that environment can play a role to enrich it. But to what extent can intelligence
be nurtured or "acquired" - is it 20% or 50%? Nobody is sure.
Today, parents are more involved
in their children's lives as a result of the pressure on children to perform
at a younger and younger age. Every parent would like to see his or her
child excel. Dr. Sushma Mehrotra, psychologist, believes that if parents
give the right kind of stimulation even an average child can excel. On
the other hand, if there is a lack of stimulation, even a bright child
will not reach its full potential.
Child: Select the right toys
What is the right kind of stimulation?
Dr. Mehrotra says, "Parents should spend a lot of time with their children.
They should not just give them toys, they should also play with them. There
are age-appropriate toys available in the market. For instance, Lego is
an excellent toy for developing attention and concentration. However, if you leave a child alone with a Lego set, he will probably just throw the
pieces around, as he will not understand what he is supposed to do with
them. Parents should demonstrate how to use Lego to their children and
also show their keenness towards the toy. If parents are going to sit around
and watch movies and expect their children to play on their own, there
is no point. Children need parental involvement and guidance."
Another way in which parents can
help is by helping their children to draw properly. Even that will help
develop their attention and concentration and improve their perception
skills. Parents should select toys that require the child to sit still
for a longer period of time. They should select toys that require greater
sensory involvement, toys that require the use of touch, sight and hearing.
The greater the sensory involvement, the greater the learning.
Video games, for instance, instead
of developing attention and concentration, only result in the fluctuation
of attention and concentration. These games just have fast-moving images
on a screen that requires no concentration or thinking. The child merely
has to make mechanical actions. It's just for fun, there is no learning
involved. First of all, the child has to focus its attention on the object.
Whereas in toys like Ludo, Carrom, and Lego, a child has to think and use
Parents have no
Children should not just be given
toys. Parents need to find the time to play with their children. Parents
shouldn't feel that they are too old to play with their children. Sometimes
parents make older siblings sit with the younger children. But this is
not a solution. The children are quite likely to fight. Older children
are not necessarily equipped with the patience required to deal with a
small child. They are also not ready to handle any kind of problem that
might arise from the interaction between the children.
Nobody can substitute for parents
- not tuition teachers, not playgroups, or different classes. Parents are
busy taking their children from one class to another rather than doing
anything themselves. It would be good enough if the parents even sat down
and ate their meals together with their children, which is quite uncommon
these days. Parents feel that wealth and money can compensate for their
Children cannot learn everything.
They should take up activities according to their interest and aptitude.
However, certain things cannot be done at home. For instance, sports like
squash and swimming. There is no harm in the child taking up one or two
sports. But by sending children to a whole host of different classes, parents
are just making them more vulnerable. This keeping up with the Joneses'
attitude only makes children more prone to stress. They get tired and trying
to cope with their busy schedules can kill their natural interest for these
activities. This also leads to aggression and frustration among children
as targets are set that cannot always be met.
There are some children who do very
well at an early age and then suddenly their performance drops when they
reach the fifth or sixth standard. This is because parents overdo things
in the beginning. It doesn't make much of a difference in the early years
of school because while the pressure to perform is great, the academic
expectation is not so high that the child cannot cope. But after the fifth
or sixth standard, if the child is not particularly intelligent, then his
or her performance drops. But the parents continue to maintain the same
standards and expect their child to stand first in class.
The fact remains that intelligence
cannot be changed. Yes, it can be enriched to a certain extent, but beyond
a point you cannot do anything.
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- The Indiaparenting Team