10/31/2014 01:41 pm ET Updated Dec 31, 2014

3 Strategies for Raising a Smart Kid

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By Dr. Krekamey Craig for

What are some of the best ways to encourage a lifelong love of learning? Researchers say having children focus less on how smart they are and more on improvement and working hard helps create a mindset that leads to better grades, a more motivated student and higher test scores.

Here are three things you can do to encourage these traits:

1. Turn off the TV

Children's programming and Einstein videos can be the worst thing for children. The frenetic pace of most children's shows over-stimulates your child's brain and can lead to future attention problems. Kids under 2 definitely should not be watching television and it should be strictly limited for children older than that.

Even having the TV on in the background sets a bad example, so save your TV watching for when the kids have gone to bed.

2. Don't fixate on the A-B-Cs

If you want to instill a love of reading, choose books with topics and stories that excite and interest your child. Make reading a daily habit. Schedule reading time when your child is refreshed and has energy to focus, not when she is tired and cranky. And talk to your child -- all the time and about everything you are doing.

3. Choose daycare that's play-based, not academic

Worksheets, circle time and rigid rule-based learning can stifle children's natural curiosity. You want a daycare that emphasizes arts and crafts, building blocks, play kitchens, forts, games, and toys where children are encouraged to explore, role play, and figure stuff out on their own.

For example, when it comes to math, are the kids doing math problems on worksheets or are they outside seeing how many grey rocks they can find? Both involve counting and numbers but in very different ways. Inspired learning versus worksheets can make a big difference in how your child views learning.

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