Help Your Child Strengthen Their Intellectual Muscles
By Amanda Grossman-Scott
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” – Albert Einstein
Riding in the car with my child recently, we were listening to a news radio report about the gifted program. He asked, “what does gifted really mean?” I had a hard time explaining it to my child. I certainly couldn’t say, “That program is for children who are smarter and more gifted than the average child their age.” Because I believe my son and many other children have gifts and talents that can’t necessarily be measured the way the gifted program quantifies intelligence.
Important skills for developing intellectual strength
Critical thinking, creative problem solving, and maintaining curiosity are skills that enable our children to successfully face the challenges they will encounter throughout their lives. We want our children to strengthen their intellectual muscles so they can have a happy, productive life. This type of intelligence has little to do with grades or test scores, although good grades and test scores can be important pieces to the overall puzzle.
Why it’s important.
Curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking contribute to one’s overall abilities to foster intellectual strength. We all have experienced at some point a lack of emotional control or understanding that has clouded our ability to see what is going on and appropriately assess a situation. We all have experienced the mental slowness and confusion that can result after failing to care for our physical needs, such as sleep.
It’s important we teach our children how to care for and value their inherent intelligence while realizing that valuing intellectual health is not the same thing as valuing high test scores or straight A’s.
Every child is different.
Every child learns differently and applies knowledge through distinct means. Our job as parents is to teach our children to value their own intelligence and to make choices that will help them to develop habits and patterns that will allow them to reach their full intellectual potential.
Intelligence is measured in many ways.
I explained to my son that the gifted program is good for kids who have a specific set of gifts and talents, but that intelligence can be measured in many ways—and that success can be achieved through many avenues that use our very individualized gifts.
By learning to enjoy the rewards of their own intellectual development at an early age, children gain valuable insight and understanding into the ways that learning can enhance one’s life long after they have left their formal schooling behind.
Activities to foster intellect
- Lay out a variety of art supplies and blank paper. Instruct your child to use anything on the table to create a piece of art. Then help your child proudly display their art.
- When you see an ad in a magazine or see a commercial on TV, discuss it with your kids. Ask what is being sold, who the target audience is, and whether or not your child thinks the advertiser is being completely truthful
- Tell your kids about a time when you were curious and how you got your answers and how awesome it felt to make your discovery.
See our new book 30 Days to a Stronger Child to find ideas for teaching this concept and learn ways and activities to help your child be stronger!
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Amanda Grossman-Scott is Board Vice president and Head Writer for Educate and Empower Kids. She has written for various magazines, newspapers and blogs and has been active in the journalism industry intermittently for the last 15 years. She studied Journalism and Communications. Amanda is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and now lives with her husband and four children in San Antonio, Texas.