Raising a brainiac is a bit tongue in cheek, but all parents want to give their children the best start in life possible.
And we’ve all wished from time to time that kids came with instructions.
From getting them to sleep or eat green beans, all parents have struggled with getting the hang of this parenting thing, but helping them be ready to learn can be easy with these tips.
My 3 no-brainers to raise a Brainiac!
My daughter is has a sharp memory and insatiable curiosity. While I can’t take credit for her natural gifts, especially since we adopted, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we prepared her to be a learner long before we officially started homeschooling.
1). Read with your child.
Experts recommend 20 minutes a day. Reading . . .
- builds bonds between parent and child. I started reading to my daughter in the NICU so she could hear my voice. Reading together still makes me feel close to her.
- teaches vocabulary, prepares children for oral language acquisition, but also contributes to their ability to follow a narrative and process with visual imagery.
- helps children understand the basic building blocks of language: print moves from left to right, letters represent sounds that create words representing ideas, a fundamental understanding of grammar and punctuation.
- can be the vehicle to teach ideas, vocabulary, and content in a variety of subjects. My daughter loves space and animals. She learns about them through reading. Double win!
2). Talk with your child.
We all talk to our children, so what do I mean?
- Use adult vocabulary. Kids are sponges – use it. They’ll repeat everything anyhow, so give them a few things you won’t be embarrassed to hear in the middle of a quiet library.
I used vocabulary above her ability but follow-up with a familiar word to tie the two together.
- Explain EVERYTHING. I know it gets exhausting. By dinner time, my brain is ready to explode, but she wants to know everything about everything.
And despite the exhaustive nature of the why?, I really want to encourage that her curious nature.
I started before she could talk: We’re going to the store; see the pretty trees – those are pine trees, pine trees are coniferous.
It really doesn’t matter that it is WAY above their heads. Talk anyway because it really helps brains development and babies are not great conversationalists.Talk WITH your kids about what you're reading, watching, doing. You'll teach them so much! Click To Tweet
3). Edutain them!
While experts recommend ZERO hours of screen time under two, but we all know mommy has to shower! I tried to be very careful with what she watched.
Her music, books, video games, television, movies – 99% are educational exclusively.
If she can’t learn from it, we don’t watch it.
And talk about what you’re watching! Sociologists noted that parents influenced their children the most when they discussed shows they were watching together.
The more we talk, the more the information solidifies in her mind. She asks questions. We can even look up extra information online about what we’re watching.
Most of all, make it fun. Kids will love what is fun. You will love having fun with them.
Play alphabet games, think of silly words that rhyme, watch shows you can enjoy with them.
We spent a week watching #BigBlueLive on PBS about the swarming of marine life in Monterey Bay, Ca. We’ve loved watching it each night and learned a ton.
You can still watch the webcams here.
Raising a brainiac isn’t nearly as important as raising a kind, caring child, but give them the foundation to make learning easy and fun, and make a life-long learner out of your kid.