How to make your children smarter: 10 scientific ways

There are whole sciences about how to make children happier, how to raise them and how to live a life of joy. But what helps children - from babies to teenagers - become smarter? The answer to this question was found by the publication TEAM.

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Science confirms that these 10 things can help:

  1. Music lessons

Studies show that music lessons make children smarter - compared to children in control groups, children in musical groups showed greater growth IQ. The effect was insignificant, but it extends to tests on IQ, exponential points and standard measurements of academic success.

Moreover, music lessons help everyone, both young and older: more and more researchers come to the conclusion that music lessons give students an advantage in learning. A study at Northwestern University found that music lessons can even help grandmothers — they neutralize some of the detrimental effects of aging.

  1. From sports do not grow stupid - this is a myth

Those who play sports only may become stupid, but only because they spend more time on the field than in the library. And if you make your child to be there and there?

Being in good physical condition increases the ability to learn. After physical activity, people memorize new words on 20% faster. A three-month exercise regimen increases blood flow to the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning by 30%. 

From Eric Heigerman’s Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Iskra: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain:

“Investigating a person in 2007, German scientists concluded that people memorize words by 20% faster after playing sports than before classes, and that the speed of memorization is directly related to the levels of the neurotrophic factor of the brain.

In his study, Small assigned a three-month exercise system to a group of volunteers, and then took pictures of their brain. He saw that the volume of capillaries in the memory area of ​​the hippocampus increased by 30%, which is very significant. ”

It turns out, exercises can make you and your children happier and smarter.

  1. Do not read to your children - read with them.

Does your little one learn to read? Do not leave him only the opportunity to view the pictures in the book, while you are reading. Appeal his attention on words. Read with him, not for him. Studies show that it helps strengthen the child's reading skills: “When reading books together is complemented by a clear focus on developing the skills and strategies of reading a child, then reading together is an effective mechanism to support early literacy, even among children from low-income families.”

  1. Less sleep leads to dullness of the child.

Skipping an hour of sleep, a sixth-grader's brain turns into a fourth-grader's brain, since there is a correlation between classes and the amount of sleep.

From NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children: Losing one hour of sleep equals [losing] two years of cognitive maturation and development.

“The teenagers who studied on the fives slept for about 15 minutes longer than the Quadrang pupils, who, in turn, slept for 15 minutes more than the co-students, and so on. Volstrom's data almost exactly echoed those from an earlier study of nearly 3000 students in Rhode Island. Naturally, these are average indicators, but the consistency of the results is striking. Every 15 minute counts. ”

  1. IQ nothing costs without self-discipline

Self-discipline matters more than IQ in determining those who succeed in life.

An excerpt from Charles Dahigg's excellent book "The Power of Habit":

«Dozens of studies confirm that willpower is the only and most important habit for personal success ... Students who demonstrated high levels of willpower were more likely to get high grades in their subjects and go to more prestigious universities. They walked less and spent less time watching TV, and more time doing their homework. “Teens with high levels of self-discipline had better academic success rates than their more impulsive peers,” the researchers write. - Self-discipline determined academic performance more than IQ. Self-discipline also determined which of the students would be able to improve their grades throughout the school year, while IQ did not determine ... Self-discipline has more impact on academic performance than intelligence. "

That is, evaluations are more dependent on good faith than just mind.

From the book How Children Succeed: Perseverance, Interest and Hidden Strength of Character (How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and Hidden Power of Character):

“... conscientiousness was a character trait that best defined success in work. What intrigued Roberts about good faith was that she defined a great deal outside the workplace. Conscientious people get higher grades in school and university; they commit fewer crimes; they stay longer in marriage. They live longer - and not only because they drink less and smoke. They are less likely to have heart attacks, they have lower blood pressure, and among them fewer cases of Alzheimer's disease. ”

Who has the best vital signs? Children persistent

From Drive: The Amazing Truth About What Motivates Us (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us):

"The researchers found that the best precursor of the success of future cadets is their indicator of non-cognitive and non-physical characteristics called “Perseverance”, which is defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”.

  1. Learning is an active process.

Programs like "Baby Einstein" and brain training games does not work. There is even reason to believe that because of them, children are becoming stupid.

From the book Brain Rules for a Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Birth to 5 Years (Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart):

“These products didn't work at all. They did not give a positive effect on the dictionaries of the target audience - babies from 17 to 24 months. Some even harmed. For every hour of the day that children spent watching certain children’s DVD and video, kids understood on average 6-8 words less than those who did not watch them. "

Real learning is not passive, but active.

What does Dan Coyle recommend, the author of The Talent Code? Stop just reading and check yourself:

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“Our brains are developed in such a way that it learns when it does something, not when it hears about it. This is one of the reasons why, for many skills, it is much better to spend about two-thirds of the time challenging yourself rather than simply absorbing knowledge. There is a two-thirds rule: if you want, for example, to memorize a paragraph, it is better to spend 30% of the time reading, and the remaining 70% of the time - checking yourself for knowledge. "

  1. Goodies are good - if you give them at the right time

In general, it would be better if the children all the time enjoyed healthy food. Studies show that nutrition affects a child’s grades:

“Everyone knows that on the day of an important exam you need to have breakfast. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, fiber that are slow to digest, such as oatmeal, are best, studies have shown. But it also matters what you eat the week before. When 16 college students were surveyed for attention and quick thinking, they fed them high-fat, low-carbohydrate foods - meat, eggs, cheese and sour cream - for five days - and then tested again, their productivity dropped. "

There are always exceptions. Not every child always tries healthy food. But the irony is that children often eat “bad” food at the wrong time.

Studies show that caffeine and sugar can stimulate the brain:

“Caffeine and glucose can have a positive effect on cognitive productivity. Since these zones are responsible for maintaining attention and memory processes, the results may suggest that a combination of caffeine and glucose can increase the effectiveness of the attention system. ”

And children love them, among other things.

So if from time to time children still eat sweets and drink sweet water, it may be better to give them to them during their studies, and not when they rest.

  1. Happy kids = successful kids

Happier children have more chances to grow up as successful and full-fledged adults.

From the book “More Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Children and Happy Parents” (10: Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents):

“... happiness is a huge advantage in a world where success matters. On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people, both at work and in their personal lives. They get better marks for their productivity, earn more prestigious positions and earn more money. They are more likely to marry, and in marriage they feel more satisfied. ”

What is the first step to a happy child? Be a happy parent!

  1. Peer group and team matter

Your genetics, like your partner’s genetics, has a huge impact on your children. And how do you educate them? Not at all such an effect.

From Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point: How Small Things Can Make a Difference (Malcolm Gladwell, The Little Things Point:)

“In terms of intellectuality and certain character traits, biological children are very similar to their parents. Foster children, however, show very strange results. They have nothing to do with their adoptive parents: they are no more similar, personally or intellectually, to those who raised, fed, clothed, read, taught, and loved them for 16 years than any other two adults. randomly selected on the street. "

So what affects the behavior of your children? Their peers

We usually remember peers when we talk about pressure from them, when it is negative, but in fact, more often than not it is positive.

Living in a decent area, attending a good school and university, and communicating with good children can mean a lot.

What is the easiest way for a college student to raise their GPA? Live in a room with a smart man.

From the book “The Advantage of Happiness: Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Help Achieve Success and Productivity at Work” (The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology):

“One study at Dartmouth College, conducted by economist Bruce Suckerdot, shows how strong this influence is. He found out that when students with lower average grades just started settling in rooms with students with high grades, their grades also increased. ”

  1. Believe in them

Belief in your child, in the fact that he is smarter than others, means a lot.

When the teachers were told that certain children were stronger than others, these children showed the best results - despite the fact that they were chosen by chance.

From the book "The Heart of Social Psychology":

“Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson (1968) conducted a similar study, informing elementary school teachers that they had pupils in the class who had a lot of potential to learn. In fact, these children were chosen in absolutely random order, without additional tests. However, towards the end of the school year, 30% of children randomly named successful added approximately 22 points to their IQ, while almost all added only 10 points. ”


  1. Music lessons
  2. From sports do not grow stupid - this is a myth
  3. Do not read to your children - read with them.
  4. Less sleep leads to dullness of the child.
  5. IQ costs nothing without self-discipline
  6. Learning is an active process.
  7. Goodies are good - if given at the right time
  8. Happy kids = successful kids
  9. Peer group and team matter
  10. Believe in them

And one more thing: the mind is not all. Without ethical behavior and sympathy for others, very smart people can be simply frightening.

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