Brain scientists believe that the golden growth period of children’s brains at the age of 0-5 is crucial to their future. Therefore, to make children smarter, we should make some efforts at this stage.
1. Safer babies are smarter
John Medina, a famous brain neuroscientist in the United States, believes that the emotional ecology of infants can have a profound impact on the development of their nervous system, especially the strong demand for a sense of security, so he put forward the view that the sense of security in children’s growth and development is the first.
Every skill that human beings possess is evolved to avoid extinction, and the brain is no exception. Only when the sense of security is satisfied, the brain can learn all kinds of knowledge.
Breast milk is the best food for babies within 6 months of birth, where there are abundant nutrients and anti-infective substances, and colostrum contains a large amount of immunoglobulin, which is the first line of defense for babies. Mothers feed their children by themselves, which is also conducive to the emotional exchange between mother and baby, and brings vital physical and psychological advantages to children.
In this regard, I believe that mothers are trying their best. However, in some cases, mothers really can’t insist on breastfeeding, and need not be too anxious and tangled. Because the mother’s emotions will be transmitted to the baby, and he will keenly feel the anxiety from his mother, which will further affect his brain development.
3. Communicate with children
Children who often communicate with their parents with high quality have twice the vocabulary of those who communicate with their parents less. After school, these children are also much better at reading, spelling and writing than the former.
Therefore, from the birth of the baby, parents should communicate with the baby as much as possible. In the process of continuous communication, the baby can be exposed to many new words every day, and it will also make the baby feel the love from the family and make the baby feel more secure.
When communicating with the baby, parents should put aside other things and interact with the child in a relaxed way. But instead of relaxing casually, they should pay attention to the child’s performance at any time, such as the child’s words, expressions, intonation, posture, movements, etc., so that they can really understand the child’s needs and expressions.
4. Open activities
Unlike closed activities, open activities are not limited in playing methods (such as various toys). Their playing methods are diverse, which are discovered by children themselves, and their imagination and creativity are brought into play.
I believe that both parents have similar experience. When they pass the newly bought toy to the child, the child is not as excited about the toy itself as you think, but is interested in the toy box.
In fact, many things in daily necessities can be used as “toys” for children. For example, those empty plastic bottles, old telephones, large cartons, and supermarket leaflets are all interesting things in his eyes. Children will knock on each other with plastic bottles, drill trains, hide and seek with large cartons, and recognize various items on the leaflet. In short, children will come up with various ways to play and enjoy it.
However, open activities are not completely indulgent for children to play, and parents can guide them. Scientists believe that “play house” (role play) is a game that can make children smarter. When playing the role of firefighter and police uncle, the child should have both imagination and self-control, because he should abide by the corresponding rules.
5. Praise efforts rather than cleverness
Carol Dweck, a famous developmental psychologist at Stanford University, and her team have been studying the impact of praise on children in the past 10 years. They studied 400 fifth graders in 20 schools in New York.
In an experiment, Dweck asked children to complete a series of puzzles independently.
The first round: praise children for their intelligence and hard work.
The first round of test questions are very simple, and almost all children can complete the task excellently. After each child completes the test, the researcher will tell him the score with a word of praise.
“You are very talented in puzzles. You are very smart.”
“You must have worked very hard just now, so you performed very well.”
The second round: Most of the children who were praised for their intelligence chose simple tasks; Those who have been praised for their efforts have chosen tasks with greater difficulty.
Then, the children took part in the second round of jigsaw puzzle test, with two different difficulty tests available. One is difficult, but can learn new knowledge; The other is a simple test similar to the previous round.
It was found that 90% of the children who were praised for their efforts in the first round chose the more difficult tasks. Most of the children who were praised for their intelligence chose simple tasks.
Why is this? Dweck wrote in his research report: “When we praise children for their intelligence, we are telling them not to take the risk of making mistakes in order to keep smart.” Children who are praised as “smart” choose simple tasks in order to keep looking smart and avoid the risk of making a fool of themselves.
The third round: those who suffer setbacks and are praised for being smart think that they fail because they are not smart enough; Those who are praised for their efforts think that failure is due to insufficient efforts.
In the third round of testing, the Dewick team deliberately let the children suffer setbacks.
This time, all the children took the same test. This test was very difficult, and all the children failed. The children who had received different praise had different reactions to failure.
Those children who were previously praised for their efforts believed that they failed because they did not work hard enough. Dweck recalled that these children were very involved in the test and tried to solve problems in various ways. Several children told me: “This is my favorite test.”
Those who were praised for their intelligence believed that they failed because they were not smart enough. They have been very nervous during the test, scratching their ears and cheeks, and feeling frustrated if they can’t do the test.
The fourth round: test results of simple questions: praise the smart, and the score fell back by 20%; Praise the hard work, the score increased by 30%.
The topic of the fourth round of test is as simple as that of the first round. Those who were praised for their hard work scored about 30% higher than the first time. The children who were praised for their intelligence fell back about 20% on their scores this time compared to the first time.
Dweck has always suspected that praise may not have a good effect on children, but the results of this experiment are still far beyond her expectations. She explained: “Praising children for their hard work will give them a sense of self-control. Children will think that success is in their own hands. On the contrary, praising children for their intelligence means telling them that success is not in their own hands. In this way, when they face failure, they are often helpless.”
In the follow-up interview with children later, Dweck found that those children who believed that talent was the key to success unconsciously underestimated the importance of effort. These children will reason like this: I’m smart, so I don’t have to work so hard. They even think that hard work is stupid, which means admitting that they are not smart enough.
Dwek’s experiment was repeated many times. She found that no matter what kind of family background the child had, she could not stand the frustration of being praised for being smart. Boys and girls alike, especially girls with good grades, suffer the most. Even preschool children, such praise will hurt them.
So what we need to learn is how to appropriately praise children, stimulate their potential, and overcome difficulties.
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