Families are at the heart of everything we do. They serve as a witness to our lives, support us when we fail and remind us of where we came from. Even if you have a nontraditional family, a strong family unit is essential to a vibrant community. In this Good Ideas issue, we focus on ways to build a family-friendly community, how to raise a genius child, alternatives to traditional families and styles of parenting.
How to Raise a Really Smart Kid
• Start early.
• Laugh a lot with your baby, looking into his eyes.
• Babies pick up your moods and learn them.
• Support, don't smother.
• Know that a baby's "emotional intelligence" begins in the cradle.
• Play good music for your baby: not violent. Yes, Mozart or Coltraine works.
• Believe from day one that your baby will grow up to be extraordinary, no matter what your circumstance.
• Set limits and high expectations.
• All kids should not get a trophy. They should strive for it.
• Model persistence, resilience and patience.
• Embrace your child's failure; use it to teach.
• Don't teach a win-lose mentality.
• Teach how their actions make others feel; not that they're "naughty."
• Kids need to learn to soothe themselves.
Does your child pass the marshmallow test? Researchers found that kids who grab one marshmallow when told they can wait and have two are more prone to behavior problems later in life. Delayed gratification is a life skill; impulsiveness is not.
Nature v. Nurture: Can any child be a genius?
"Either you have it, or you don't."
"No! Geniuses are born! Some kids are born low achievers."
"Poets and musicians are both born with artistic talent."
"Bad genes = bad grades."
"Anyone can do well in schools with the right effort."
"Talent is not the cause, but the result."
"Skills are specific."
"The brain drives the brawn."
"The brain is plastic; it will adapt."
Create Healthy Adults
• Teach them to be present with activities they enjoy: to be fully "in the flow."
• Don't make work easier or do their school project for them. Ever.
• Teach kids time management: not to multitask, to schedule work and fun.
• Model curiosity about the world. (Stop and read historic markers with kids.)
• Make sure your kids have adult mentors outside the family.
• Cook healthy food together.
• Teach them to help others. Volunteer with them.
• Good sleep and healthy food help genius minds develop.
• Organize family activities that challenge their minds.
• Cut kids slack and help lower their stress. Teach them to breathe.
• Invite kids to smart adult events.
• Ask kids their opinions.
For more "good" stories and ideas, follow us to the JFP GOOD Blog and contribute your own "good"ness.