Dumb jocks are dumb because they spend more time on the field than in the library. But what if you make sure your child devotes time to both? Being in good shape increases your ability to learn. Indeed, in a study of humans, German researchers found that people learn vocabulary words 20 percent faster following exercise than they did before exercise, and that the rate of learning correlated directly with levels of BDNF.
In his study, Small put a group of volunteers on a three-month exercise regimen and then took pictures of their brains… What he saw was that the capillary volume in the memory area of the hippocampus increased by 30 percent, a truly remarkable change. More on how exercise can make you and your kids smarter and happier here. Got a little one who is learning to read? Call attention to the words. Read with them, not to them. Research shows it helps build their reading skills:.
More on things most parents do wrong here. Via NurtureShock :. Certainly, these are averages, but the consistency of the two studies stands out. Every fifteen minutes counts. More on how to sleep better here. Self-discipline beats IQ at predicting who will be successful in life. Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success… Students who exerted high levels of willpower were more likely to earn higher grades in their classes and gain admission into more selective schools.
They had fewer absences and spent less time watching television and more hours on homework. Self-discipline also predicted which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not. Grades have more to do with conscientiousness than raw smarts.
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What intrigues Roberts about conscientiousness is that it predicts so many outcomes that go far beyond the workplace. People high in conscientiousness get better grades in school and college; they commit fewer crimes; and they stay married longer. They live longer — and not just because they smoke and drink less. Who does best in life?
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Kids with grit. More on how to improve self-discipline here. They had no positive effect on the vocabularies of the target audience, infants months. Some did actual harm. Stop merely reading and test yourself :. Our brains evolved to learn by doing things, not by hearing about them. More on how to teach your child to be a hard worker in school here. Overall, it would be better if kids ate healthy all the time. Everybody knows you should eat breakfast the day of a big test. High-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oatmeal are best, research shows. But what you eat a week in advance matters, too.
When 16 college students were tested on attention and thinking speed, then fed a five-day high-fat, low-carb diet heavy on meat, eggs, cheese and cream and tested again, their performance declined. There are always exceptions.
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No kid eats healthy all the time. Research shows caffeine and sugar can be brain boosters:. Caffeine and glucose can have beneficial effects on cognitive performance… Since these areas have been related to the sustained attention and working memory processes, results would suggest that combined caffeine and glucose could increase the efficiency of the attentional system. More on the best way for kids to study here. On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both work and love.
They get better performance reviews, have more prestigious jobs, and earn higher salaries. They are more likely to get married, and once married, they are more satisfied with their marriage. Being a happy parent. More on how to raise happy kids here. Your genetics and the genetics of your partner have a huge effect on your kids. But the way you raise your kids?
Not nearly as much. When my son was 4-years-old last year and we had a small fire in the kitchen, I wondered the same thing. Then he just looked confused and scared when I asked him repeatedly to put his coat and shoes on and step outside. When I finally got him outside and to safety, we put the fire out and I suddenly felt like a horrible parent.
We never even practiced fire drills at home , I thought to myself. Like most parents I know, I spent most of my time helping my preschooler learn the alphabet and how to spell his name.
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Meyers also discusses how the fundamentals of learning how to fend for oneself using street smarts are mostly the same despite which type of environment kids grow up in. He believes that adults and parents have the knowledge and are in a place of power to help kids become street smart by sharing helpful tips along with their experiences and life lessons learned. Helping my child become street smart solves both of these issues and helps eliminate the fear and uncertainty I once had. Inhabitots , a baby and parenting focused resource, uses research from the Nemours Foundation to support the fact that street smart kids are far less likely to be abducted than sheltered kids.
Growing up I always thought of my dad as the epitome of a street smart person and come to find out, he developed his sense of situational awareness not to mention common sense as a child. My dad learned from the school of hard knocks when his father dropped him off in the downtown area of Chicago and challenged him to find his way back home on his own.
He literally knows every nook and cranny throughout the entire city including the suburbs of Chicago. He taught me how to be observant of my surroundings at all times. From teaching your kids the basics about not talking to strangers and avoiding dark abandoned alleys at night to equipping them with navigational skills and wise personal instincts, there are plenty of effective ways we can help our children become street smart as they grow up. In turn, it made us wiser, more observant, and able to confidently make the right choices.
I fondly remember car rides that were spent going over safety tips and experiences that my mom encountered. I point out the police station when we pass it, safe places and unsafe places, and familiar landmarks in the area. When it comes to your child learning how to become street smart, you are that link between home life and the real world.
Grab the every day teaching opportunities every chance you can! Ask yourself: What does my child know how to do well? Does he or she pay attention to the world around them? What situations can they handle without my guidance?
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Have a serious but friendly sit-down conversation with your child. Introduce the concept of being street smart and communicate its importance. Make sure they are comfortable calling in the case of an emergency and know their phone number. If your child is older, teach them the phone number of a trusted friend who can help in an emergency.
Practice setting up routines that will help your children manage when unexpected events and situations occur. Organize a fire drill and a tornado drill routine to start and identify safe places in the home. Then develop a plan with your child that will help them know what to do if you were ever separated from each other in a public area. Train your kids how to be aware of their surroundings when they are away from you and give them a tour of your area and neighboring towns so they can become familiar with the setting.
Since being street smart is all about using the experiences and knowledge you have to make sound decisions for yourself, equip them with life experiences, insight and knowledge by getting out and exploring your surroundings together. Chonce is a freelance writer for hire, personal finance blogger, and mother to a spunky preschooler.
What a great post! Thanks so much. I feel so strongly about this after something that happened to my brother. Chonce — Thank you for this post; most specifically, taking the time to list so many age-appropriate ideas. I enjoyed the story of your dad getting dropped off in downtown Chicago and having to find his way home.