Every parent wants their kids to be the smartest they can possibly be and will scour the internet looking for ways in which they can raise their children to prize intelligence and actively seek out knowledge on their own. Depending on the child, this can be both frustratingly difficult or incredibly simple.

Raise kids with  knowledge in mind

There are, of course, ways in which you can help prep your child early on to value knowledge and intelligence, which can pave the way for kids to want to learn for themselves later in life.

Reading to children every night

  • Young children have a thirst for knowledge, but early knowledge can only be garnered when it is imparted by those who are older.
  • By reading to your child from a young age they will learn a larger vocabulary at a faster rate.
  • Learning these words, and what they mean, allow children to think better and become more articulate in expressing their feelings and ideas more effectively.
  • When a child enters school, the increased vocabulary they have will help hem understand more of what their teacher’s lessons actually mean, allowing them to absorb the information more effectively.
  • Reading to young children also promotes neuron growth in the brain which forges new connections and allows for critical thinking on a higher level.
  • Reading to your child strengthens already existing bonds which have been created over time. Creating a special time with your kids where there is no technology or distractions is especially important at younger ages but can be continued for many years.
  • Most adults will recall being read to as a child as some of their most precious memories. Do not underestimate how much kids love and enjoy this time with their parents.
  • Reading out loud also allows your child to understand how to pay close attention to a story to understand it as well as teaching them concentration which is a highly valuable skill when they are of school age.
  • Reading out loud also helps children o understand empathy by hearing about characters in situations they could imagine themselves in. Learning to hear and understand other peoples stories will promote compassion and empathy as well as improving your child’s behavior through learned situations.
  • The obvious benefit of reading to a child every night is to promote a love of reading when they are able to read independently. Once kids have a love of reading, studying and a thirst for knowledge are much easier to promote as a valuable characteristic to have.

Reduce “screen time”

  • While it was easier to get away from the TV a decade ago, kids are now bombarded with screens; TVs, video games, cellphones and tablets with games and videos have taken over and can become a defacto parent when life gets too busy.
  • Reducing this screen time will actively encourage children to seek out some fun from other means.
  • Children that play with other children, whether this is a board game or imaginary games outside, learn how to problem solve or create stories as well as forging bonds with other kids, learning empathy and teamwork.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that two hours is the maximum limit any child should be in front of any screen, so it is important to monitor this.
  • During this two hour window, it is important to suggest a child play a game where they can create something (think Minecraft) which can help foster a love of building or learning how to create. It is more important that they create than consume content where possible to encourage this behavior.

Help at first, but back off later

  • For the first years of a child’s academic career, a fair bit of hand-holding is obviously encouraged.
  • Children need to know their parent is actively helping them succeed with homework and assignments to know that there is an expectation of academic success.
  • It is encouraged that parents then back off helping their kids with homework towards the end of elementary school as this can actively stunt their educational development.
  • Showing the importance of learning independently, and working through problems without actually giving a child the answers is also highly important and promotes critical thinking and a thirst for knowledge.