The first 10 years of a child’s life are often considered, by experts, an „opportunity window”. That is because, during this time, everything that the child comes in contact with becomes essential to his development, as it helps create neural pathways.

In order to stimulate the child’s intellect, you should involve him in a number of beneficial activities. Most of these are useful even for adults. It’s never too late to start learning a foreign language or to start eating a healthy breakfast.

Here are the 14 things you should know in order to raise a smarter child:

1. Music lessons are a big influence on a child’s intellect

Research has shown that music lessons stimulate a child’s intelligence. Within the experiment, there were groups of children that didn’t practice any musical activity (control groups) and groups that did.

Compared to those from the control groups, the kids from the groups that performed musical activities showed higher IQ raises. Moreover, the study showed that music lessons are beneficial to everyone’s intelligence, regardless of the age. 

2. Don’t just read to child, read together

If your child is of reading age, don’t just let him look at the pictures while you read. Ask him to pay attention to the words, so that you both read, not just you.

Research has shown that when you involve the child in the reading process, his ability to read and his strategic thinking will develop faster. So next time you read a story, ask your child to be a part of it.

3. Lack of sleep slows down your child’s cognitive thinking

According to this study, when a 6th grade child misses one hour of sleep, his mind reduces its capacity to that of a 4th grader. Missing one hour of sleep at this age is the equivalent of a two year regression in his development and cognitive growth. There is a strong connection between a child’s grades and how many hours he sleeps.

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The study has shown that kids whose grades were mostly 9 and 10 (out of 10), were sleeping, on average, 15 minutes longer than kids who got 7 and 8, who, in return, actually slept 15 minutes longer than the ones whose grades were below 7. This study, ran by  Wahlstrom, only confirmed another study, that had been run before, by Brown’s Carskadon on a group of 3000 students at a Rhode Island high school. Every quarter of an hour matters.

4. IQ is not that important without discipline

Personal discipline is more important in becoming successful in life than IQ. Charles Duhigg, author of a book called „The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”, said that:

Many studies have shown that will is the only key factor in becoming successful. Students with strong will power had better chances at getting high grades or getting into prestigious schools. These students missed less school , spent less time in front of the TV and more time studying. Personal discipline predicts academic performance better than IQ. It also predicts which of the students will improve their grades throughout the year and which won’t, something that you can’t determine based on IQ.

Conscientiousness is another factor, more important than IQ. This was the feature that most accurately predicted professional success. What’s even more interesting, though, it that it didn’t only predict professional success, it also predicted personal success.

Conscientious people have less health problems and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Learning is an active process

Brain training” games don’t work. In fact, there are reasons to believe that they can negatively influence children’s intelligence.

Research has shown that these products didn’t have any positive effects on the vocabulary of children with aged between 17 and 24 months old. Some of the games actually had negative effects. Within the experiment, the children who interacted with these products showed an ability to understand words that was 6-8 words lower than that of the children who hadn’t been exposed to them.

Learning must be an active process, in order to produce any results. Passive learning is inefficient and has negative effects on a child’s development. The human brain evolved in time by using the information, not just by hearing it.

This is why it’s recommended that you dedicate two thirds of your learning time to using what you’ve learned, and only one third to „absorbing” the information. If you want to memorize a fragment of text, you should only spend 30% of your time reading it and 70% testing what you remember.


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