What Makes Kids Intelligent?
Raising Smart Kids
Build Mental Muscle continued...
Sports, music, and other activities demanding focused attention
and discipline and stimulate mental development -- but don't force children to
adopt your own interests. "Just because Dad enjoyed hockey as a child
doesn't guarantee that his own children will," Darvill says.
Each child's interests and learning strategies are unique,
Gottfredson agrees. To develop intelligence, we must not neglect ambition,
courage, and conscientiousness, which are equally important for success. We
mustn't forget to teach children how to learn.
"Few people work to their potential, or even realize what
it is," she says. "Encourage children to develop the attitudes and
tools for making the best use of their minds."
Robert J. Sternberg, PhD, is director of the PACE Center and
IBM professor of psychology and education at Yale University. "If we take
into account how children think, we can improve their achievement,"
Sternberg tells WebMD. "If we teach in a way that is relevant to children's
abilities, we get much better results."
Use It or Lose It
As early environmental effects wear off, intelligence training
should be a lifelong pursuit. Nourished by a healthy diet and encouraged to use
her unique gifts most effectively, your child should be off to a running
"If you can accelerate children's ability to learn -- even
temporarily -- the knowledge they've acquired may still be with them 20 or 30
years later," Dickens says. "Some skills stay with you your whole life.
Parents can permanently affect their child's job success and income, even if
they can't permanently change his IQ."
According to the "Flynn effect" discovered by James R.
Flynn, PhD, a political scientist at the University of Otago in New Zealand,
the average IQ for the population as a whole increases with each generation. He
tells WebMD that the best gift you can give your child is a love for learning
and for satisfying work.
"If you do that for your child, for heaven's sake don't
worry about IQ," Flynn says. "They have got what makes life rewarding