Have you ever stopped to find out why some children get done with tasks faster than others, or why it is easy for them to engage you in a conversation that has no end in sight and worthwhile at the same time? These children have no extraordinary brains; it’s a function of their minds. So, if you are one of the latest mothers in town, this might just be your lucky read today.
First, an understanding of the fact that intelligence is a thing of the mind will help a lot. In simple language, it’s a function of how much the mind is engaged. You remember that Accounting expression ‘For every credit entry, there must be a corresponding debit entry’? Yes, it’s exactly the same. The more you engage your mind, the more intelligent you become. So, for your child, these five things will help:
1. First, stop assuming there are certain things your child cannot understand. In other words, as long as it lies within the limits of morality, explain everything and anything to your child. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. If they ask a question you don’t have an answer to, find out. That way, they get to know that no man is an island and that you didn’t know it before does not mean you cannot know it now. So, it helps them to be positive about acquiring knowledge which is very fundamental to the use of the mind.
2.Let your child solve problems. Is his ball at the far end under the bed? Give him the opportunity to find a way to get it out. He will explore several options and one will eventually work out. Developing problem-solving skills is important for the child and the more problems they solve, the more they can solve.
3. Buy them interesting books, spend time reading with them and ask them to tell you the same story. As they tell their version of the story, they learn to put their ideas together and express them in words. This also helps them to develop creative writing skills and you never can tell, that might be the next Achebe.
4. Add indoor games and toys to these. Yes! Let them play those adventure games and get through each stage solving the puzzles and finding the missing treasure. The beauty of these games is that it allows them to try and try again even if they fail. An intelligent mind is not one that gives up too easily.
5. Finally, it is still very true that ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.’ Help your child to develop the habit of going to bed early and waking up refreshed, ready for the adventures of a new day and you may want to take the lead on this one.