Reading whole pages at a time and remembering the material in detail. Solving problems in a creative and totally new ways. Learning new subjects easily and quickly. Focusing on an activity without giving in to any distractions. Knowing the subject better than anybody else. Coming up with new concepts and ideas easily and quickly. Inventing new tools and instruments that help change the world. All those great skills are identifiers of a genius.
In the last few years, research into the brain's development and functions has increased significantly, and new discoveries have taken place, mainly due to new technology that is now available for the first time.
It used to be "common knowledge" that the neural connections in the brain grow rapidly when we are infants, slow down later, and finally come to their "peak" when we reach adulthood. People used to think that after that, our brain cells and neural connections, actually start diminishing until "old age" sets in, and we lose our brain capacity.
In the recent years it has been proven, that the brain actually develops new neural connections constantly, and keeps doing so until the day we die. The trigger for developing these new neural connections is brain activity. This feature is called Brain Plasticity, and is part of new information that is found out in recent research.
Tools and techniques to increase an individual's IQ are being discovered constantly. Using the information from recent research, many new theories and techniques have been developed. The best time to start developing a strong intelligence is in infancy, because that provides for a lifetime of developing activity. However, these techniques and methods are effective at any age. Let's discuss just a few of the ideas that have been suggested in recent research...
- Left-right brain connection
There has been a lot of discussion about the theory that the left hemisphere of the brain and the right hemisphere of the brain are responsible for different functions. I have seen many theories, among them the suggestion that the left brain is the analytical one, while the right brain is the creative one. The left brain is responsible for language skills, while the right brain is responsible for "thinking in pictures". It has been proven as beneficial to fortify the connection between both hemispheres of the brain, so that a person can combine the different skills in problem solving and in everyday life. We call that "Whole Brain Thinking."
Techniques to strengthen the connection between the right brain and the left brain include everything that has to do with the "cross pattern coordination" movement. For example, babies practice this when they start crawling. The left arm comes forward while the right leg comes forward, and then in turn the right arm and the left leg come forward. This cross movement contributes to the development of the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain.
You may have heard the opinion that a child that has started walking without crawling first will have problems with gross motor skills later in life. I have met many children who haven't crawled and didn't experience any difficulties as a result, but there is no doubt that crawling is very beneficial, even for adults.
You can see this cross pattern in normal walking, too. The right arm comes forward as the left leg moves forward, and the left arm in turn when the right leg comes forward. Walking is a very healthy and beneficial activity.
Another activity that only few people know about, and that proves to be extremely effective, is practicing writing with the non-dominant hand. A right handed child should practice using his left hand in writing, and a left handed child should practice writing using his right hand. Just a few minutes a day of this activity will benefit your child tremendously.
Drumming is another beneficial activity, that helps strengthen the connection between the right and the left brain. It also helps a child in the recognition and memorizing of patterns, sometimes very complex. Practicing drumming is a tremendous activity for children.
Many other activities have proven beneficial for the development of left/right brain connection. If you'd like to learn more about this, please take a look at my ebook, "Develop Your Child's Genius".
- The Oxygen We Breath
The amount of oxygen that we get into our brain is a significant factor in brain development. Children used to spend their time outside, in the fresh air, run around playing ball and other games, jump rope, yell and scream while playing, in short – filling their lungs with loads of fresh air. Children used to fish in streams, swim in lakes, ice skate roller skate… you get the picture.
Nowadays, many of the children spend more and more hours sitting in front of the tv or in front of their computer, playing games, surfing the Internet or simply doing their homework.
A good balance between exercise and studying is recommended for healthy brain development.
All exercise and sports games develop good coordination, lung capacity and a strong body, but there are some specific activities that prove to be especially beneficial for the children of today.
Swimming is one of the most beneficial activities. It has been proven to be a superior exercise for all ages, infants to adults. Swimming is an activity that improves lung capacity. The yogis use swimming as an intensive breathing exercise that contributes to balance and focus. Yoga swimming is very rhythmic breast stroke. The swimmer inhales the air into his lungs, doing one rotation, then exhales under water, doing 2 or 3 rotations. This rhythmic exercise and rhythmic breathing pattern is what the yogis consider so beneficial to lung capacity, and in turn to the increasing of the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain.
Diving under water at some depth and gradually increasing the time interval, increases lung capacity and the capacity of the blood vessels to the brain. It has been proven to have a profound effect on the ability to focus and on IQ.
Many other activities have proven beneficial for the increase of lung capacity and oxygen supply to the brain. If you'd like to learn more about this, please take a look at my ebook, "Develop Your Child's Genius".
- Diet and Nutrition
You are what you eat. Have you heard this expression before? Of course you have. A young child is developing in so many ways. The body grows and develops, and also the brain. There is no need to mention how important nutrition is for the development of a strong body and a healthy brain. What is often overlooked is the negative affects of pollutants and chemicals, preservatives and artificial materials that a child ingests eating the packaged food we all consume nowadays.
I have heard of children who were diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and put on medications, that have changed their behavior completely after changing their diets and eliminating some of the pollutants.
The issue of diet and nutrition has to do with "good foods" and "bad foods". Foods that contribute to health, and foods that are destructive.
Food that contribute to health are fresh, "live" foods. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamins, calcium and other beneficial substances. Foods that contain Omega3 oils are essential for brain development. Flax seed, Salmon fish are important. Eggs that are rich in Omega3 oils are also available on the market now. Whole grains are also beneficial, brown rice, whole wheat, and some of the less known grains like Quinoa are also beneficial.
Foods that children should avoid are many of the packaged foods. These are rich in sugar, salt and preservatives. TV dinners and frozen prepared foods are loaded with salt and sugar.
- Balance All Styles of Learning
There are different types of learning. The most frequent ones are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Most people have one style that is dominant. We all use all three areas in learning, but most of us know that we have one learning style that we use more, a learning style we feel more comfortable with.
You can use this information to your child's advantage when she has to learn new information. For example, when your child is visual, you can use flash cards when having to memorize materials for school. For an auditory child you would record the material on a recording media and let your child listen to it while driving or at any other time repeatedly. For a kinesthetic child you could have your child reenact the material or use some type of movement while reciting the material.
Schools base their teaching methods heavily on the visual learning style, using visual props, reading and drawing pictures. The auditory learning style gets stimulated when the teacher stands in front of the class and lectures. The kinesthetic learning style hardly gets stimulated in school.
As a parent you can use this information to help your child learn at home in the most effective way for him. First you have to identify your child's learning style, and then you can use it to learn faster and better.
In addition to using the dominant learning style for your child's advantage, I recommend doing activities that strengthen the other learning styles in your child. If you child is mainly visual, do activities that strengthen her auditory and kinesthetic faculties. The best learning occurs when the child involves all 3 learning styles.
Good activities to strengthen the visual faculty are reading, and learning reading early on is excellent for this purpose. Also puzzles are good and all these games where a child has to find all the differences between two very similar pictures, or "find Waldo" are also excellent activities.
For the development of the auditory faculty have your child listen to music. All kinds of music and all styles of music are good. Also learning to play a musical instrument is excellent. All the games that involve learning and remembering pieces of music are great.
The kinesthetic faculty develops using movement. Dancing to the music, ballet, gymnastics, martial arts. An activity that I can recommend whole heartedly is playing in those mazes, where you go into an opening and have to find your way out on the other side. If you have something like this available to you in your area (usually you can find those at a park) or if you are lucky enough to be able to build one for your family, that is great.
- Self Confidence
A most important key to your child's success is her self confidence. We all want our children to be intelligent, of course, but the most intelligent person will not achieve more than his confidence allows. Confidence and self esteem are the most important factors in a person's success.
All of us start as confident infants, but as time goes by and we accumulate experience and memories, we start losing our confidence based on other people's comments and our judgment of ourselves. Other people's criticism, our own criticism all contribute to some loss of confidence. We all remember an incident or two in our lives where we were embarrassed or had a bad experience. Sometimes little incidences like these can stay in our memory for life.
I have had a conversation with a child at my son's school, who told me that she "isn't very smart". I asked why she thought that, and she said that she was put in the "special class" in school, and the other kids are calling her "retarded". I'd like to add that the girl was exceptionally intelligent and a member of the chess club. She was put in a special class to improve her coordination, which had nothing to do with her intelligence.
Sometimes an insensitive comment of a teacher will create in the child a feeling that they don't measure up, or a wrong answer to a question in the classroom that caused some laughing among the other kids.
Be the reasons as they may, as we go through life experience we tend to lose some of our confidence.
It is important that you try to preserve your child's confidence and self esteem. As a parent, particularly in the early years, you can provide your child with tools to handle unpleasant situations and develop strength of character.
Some of the things you can do include using affirmations. You have to let your child know that they can confide in you, that you will always be on their side. If the child tells you of an incident that you think might have affected her self confidence, you can put together an affirmation that is appropriate for the particular incident.
For example, a child had a fight with another one, and the friend told him that he is "stupid". Your affirmation will be "you are a smart boy". You can add a few more affirmations that you think will be effective. Make sure the affirmations are always in present tense and are always positive. Never say "you are not stupid".
You can repeat these affirmations any time that is appropriate. It's great to repeat the affirmations at night, before the child falls asleep and in the morning immediately after the child woke up.
Another beneficial thing to do is at night, when you tuck your child in, to talk to her about the day and the good things that had happened. Always talk about achievements, fun activities, joyful and happy things. This will create a happy ending to the day, and bring to mind the positive. Make it a habit, and your child will have fond memories of this.
In the last 26 years, I have studied this subject and observed hundreds of kids (including my own). I believe that every child is born with the capacity to be a genius. Developing a child's intelligence to it's full potential is a parents responsibility.
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