In an earlier post, I asked whether you were raising Zombies. Not the “Walking Dead” variety, of course, but the non-thinking kid kind. Whether your children are already geniuses or still trying to find their way academically, you can help them (check out my daughter, Sariah, drinking a smoothie that stimulates her brain.)
If you want to encourage your child to be a thinker (or to be brainier than he or she is already), here are some tips:
- Solve puzzles together. Crosswords, Find-a-Words, Sudokus or jigsaws all work. Jigsaw puzzles are especially effective because they develop critical thinking, improve memory and stimulate the whole brain.
- Ask their opinion often, such as “Which is a better dessert – Cake or Pie and why?” or “Which Ninja Turtle is the Smartest and why?” Then ask them to argue the OPPOSITE of what they believe. This challenges them to think in new ways.
- Help them solve their own problems. When your son comes crying that he’s had a fight with his best friend or he can’t find his homework, you could say, “Let’s think about a few ways you can make things right with Johnny,” or “Let’s list the places you’ve looked for your homework, and brainstorm what can you do if it’s gone for good.”
- Serve brain food. Certain foods stimulate the brain and promote good memory more than others. High on the list are Greek yogurt, seeds and nuts, fish, leafy greens and oatmeal.
- Assure your child that it’s okay to make mistakes. Many children would rather not try to answer a question because they don’t want to be wrong. But the “thinking” part is the objective, not finding the answer. Let them off the hook of perfection.
- Go on family field trips. Take the kids to the museum, the zoo, cultural events, book readings, puppet shows. Take them anywhere that will expand their experience. Afterwards, have a discussion on what they saw.
- Sign up for a free assessment at Miracle Math Coaching. As I’ve mentioned before, I ensure that all of Miracle Math’s processes and procedures support brain-based research and learning.