You’ve heard about child prodigies who play violin concertos or multiply double digit numbers by kindergarten. While musical or mathematical giftedness is (to some extent) something you’re born with, their eventual success owed a lot to parents who saw the gift, and nurtured it.
Child development experts say that all individuals have some creative genius within them. You know how curious your child can be. You’ve seen how intensely focused he can be on something that interests him. How do you develop that potential, challenge your child, and inculcate a desire for excellence? Read these tips
Expose them to creative activities
You see a lot of educational toys that teach ABCs or offer fun games that build logic—and they’re really awesome, in their own way. But these toys are limited by their own software. Children may master the concepts presented to them, but there is little room for innovation. That’s why traditional toys like blocks, paints, or clay should be part of even the most modern playroom. Offer activities where they an exercise their imagination, unencumbered by the question: ‘How does this toy work?’
Give opportunities to apply skills
Your child may be a voracious reader, but one way to take that a step further is to encourage him to write his own story or to use what he learned in his favorite dinosaur book to build an accurate Jurassic diorama. Remember that geniuses like Einstein or Bill Gates were able to think out of the box and present revolutionary ideas because they took the facts that everyone else knew and applied them in new ways.
Present new challenges
We don’t advocate a Tiger Mom-style of yelling and threatening kids, but you have to admit, she had a point: kids need to be pushed to excel. Praise them for what they’ve done and love them unconditionally regardless of what they don’t do, but don’t encourage a satisfaction with mediocrity. ‘That’s a great job, honey! Let’s try something new now!’ Or, ‘Hmm, that was a good try but I think you can do better.’
Another trick is to praise a child not for being smart, but for doing his best. ‘Smart’ is relative—he could be the smartest kid in class, and if he is, will probably get used to getting high grades without trying. But eventually he will meet a task that doesn’t come intuitively to him. He’ll feel frustrated and may even give up. At a young age, teach him that it’s not about doing things easily, but constantly improving yourself each and every time.
Expose them to like-minded people
Peer pressure is an important factor. You are, of course, the biggest influence on your kids, but as they grow older they will also be molded by the personalities and values of friends, teachers, neighbors, relatives. While they’re young (and you still have a say in their circle) introduce them to people who share your values and will encourage him to succeed.
Photo from inventorspot.com