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Tips to Help Your Child Gain an Edge in School and Life

03/18/2015 10:03 am ET | Updated May 18, 2015
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Using creative outlets to gain academic intelligence

It is a hot topic. Are our children are dealing with too much pressure in school from overscheduling to test stress? We hear it all the time -- "Why can't kids just be kids." But let's be honest, we live in a world where every parent wants to have a smart child. That is not an unusual goal. We want the best for our children and we have to admit there are many advantages to being a smart child (or to being a parent of a smart child).

Smart children have many opportunities. They do well in school, learn faster, get scholarships and awards, and most importantly, they end up ahead in many ways in the competitive business world as adults.

Experts are debating whether intelligence is static or if it can be developed. Some studies have shown parents can affect the intelligence of their child. In my opinion, they need to create the right atmosphere to increase the intelligence of their children from an early age to help their kids to reach their potential.

In school, learning is very structured. Children associate learning with the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with orderly schedules, heavy textbooks, as well as boredom and the grind. At the end of the day, they gladly leave school. This is the school system. However, children need to know school is not the only place in which learning can occur. They can also learn at home with their parents.

Here are some suggestions to boost your child's intellectual potential:

•First you should encourage your little one to read more or read to them. Children who read from an early age are more likely to develop a lifelong interest in reading, do well in school, as well as in life. It is one of the most important qualities one can help develop in a child to help him maximize his potential.

•Second, use tools such as games like jigsaw puzzles, mazes, some computer programs or even origami to improve brain power. One can find a lot of kid-friendly computer games that teach about letters, math, music and many other things. Also use tools such as informative videos on YouTube. Video is an easy way to learn new things. Learning and having fun at the same time is the best way for your child to learn. Remember to focus your praise on their efforts, not their intelligence. Stress the importance of hard work and dedication.

•Most importantly encourage your child's creativity. Here is how to improve creativity in your child and yourself:

--Seek out new activities like going to a museum or learning a new sport.
--Teach kids to ask questions or to be curious. By continually asking questions about the world around us, we fuel our creative fire.
--To become creative, you must also be a hungry reader.

•Don't forget about music. Listening to music can boost memory and motivation. Music stimulates different regions of the brain responsible for memory, motor control, timing and language. The right kind of music can relieve stress, improve communication and increase efficiency. Music is a very powerful tool. Choose classical music for your kids! There will be plenty of time for them to listen to pop music.

•Encourage your child to socialize. Socializing enhances their mental abilities and lets them experience the world from a new perspective. It is like reading a book. Learning is all about exposing oneself to new things and taking in information in ways that are meaningful.

•Also, don't limit the education of your kids just to their academic classes. Extracurricular learning is essential for children to be smarter. Let them learn to play a piano, handball, act, swim, cycle or any new activity of their choice. Such extracurricular activities can boost their learning skills and they will score higher in academically. When we gain or earn new knowledge, it lays the foundation to solve the next problem or learn the next new skill. This enables us to become better problem solvers in life.

In a nutshell, if you think your child is falling behind, don't worry. As a parent, you can do a lot to stimulate your child's intellectual growth.

Follow Mehdi Toozhy at https://www.facebook.com/mehditoozhy. More of his insights can be found at http://mehditoozhy.com/blog/.