Dr Jonathan Halevy. — Photo courtesy of Family Medical Practice
By Dr Jonathan Halevy*
What parent wouldn't want to have a smart successful child? A child that will be at the head of his class, a child that will get the best grades that will make his parents proud, a child with a promising future?
We all know that the intelligence potential of a child is affected by genetics. But there are ways we can help our child achieve his maximum potential and become smarter and more successful.
Many studies have shown that children who grow up without affection and love will suffer from delayed growth and development and lower IQ scores. Giving affection to your child, cuddling your baby, hugging your child and paying attention to them will boost their development. Be aware though, it doesn’t mean “spoiling” your child.
2. Talk to your baby:
Even small babies will learn to talk and communicate faster if you talk to them though they can't understand you yet. New research shows that babies as young as 6 months old can already understand certain words and expressions though they are not able to talk themselves. So take advantage of every time you have with your baby, when you feed them, bathe them and change their diapers – to talk.
We all know that breast milk is the best nutrition for your child. It provides the baby not only with the nutrients he needs but also with antibodies and immune components that protect him from infections and allergies. The act of breast feeding, having the baby so close to the mother's body, by itself has a very good effect on the child's health and development (and the mother). Children who were breastfed as babies do better in IQ tests than others.
4. Read to your child:
Children love to hear stories. It develops their imagination. And a good imagination is a sign of high intelligence. We use imagination to find solutions to problems or situations we never encountered before.
So take your time and read a book to your child at any age... and encourage them to read!
Some studies showed that playing music to children (especially classical music, such as Mozart or Beethoven) can improve their IQ scores. And it can have a relaxing effect on the baby. A relaxed baby is a happy baby (and a happy parent). Learning how to play an instrument has been shown to increase a child's IQ and improve their achievements at school. Of course, the child needs to be encouraged to do that but never to be pushed or forced to.
6. Challenge your child:
Many parents (and nannies) want to spoil their little child and “make his life easier”. So they won't let their child do anything by himself or struggle to get something he wants. This behaviour is counterproductive to child development. A child needs the challenge. Let your child try and achieve things by himself if it's playing with a toy or doing a complex task, even if it means he fails. It's the only way the child learns, experiences and improves. It's the way for him to learn how to overcome failure and turn it into success. It will build his intelligence and self-esteem.
7. “Brain games”:
There are many games that were developed for babies and children in different ages that are intended to develop their curiosity, their learning and understanding and their development. You can actually make your own games at home like making your own puzzles, your own “word games” or “Memory cards”. Doing crosswords or playing chess with your older child will improve their thinking strategies and learning.
It is not easy to raise a smart child... but the reward you receive is precious and priceless!
Have a healthy day! — Family Medical Practice
*Perhaps the most well-known figure at Family Medical Practice thanks to frequently posting pediatric advice on social media, Dr Jonathan is a graduate of the Sackler School of Medicine of Tel Aviv University, then undergoing his residency in the Pediatric Department of the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel, earning his certification as a specialist in paediatrics. He first joined Family Medical Practice in 2005 and returned in 2013 following a short period in Melbourne.
A published author on pediatric care, Dr. Jonathan is frequently invited by the local community to conduct health talks, having addressed many schools and parent groups on pediatric health issues and other medical topics. His Vietnamese-language book Nuôi Con Sao Cho Đúng on the subject of children's health was released in 2015.
Family Medical Practice was the first foreign-owned primary healthcare provider in Việt Nam, and has consistently remained at the forefront of international-standard medicine since 1995. It offers extensive healthcare and emergency medical services nationwide to Vietnamese, expatriate and corporate customers.
For more advice on any medical topics, visit Family Medical Practice Hanoi at: 298 I Kim Mã, Ba Đình. Tel: (024) 3843 0748. E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FMP’s downtown Hồ Chí Minh City location is: Diamond Plaza, 34 Lê Duẩn, District 1; 95 Thảo Điền, District 2. Tel: (028) 38227848. E: email@example.com
FMP Đà Nẵng is located at 96-98 Nguyễn Văn Linh, Hải Châu District, Đà Nẵng. Tel: (0236) 3582 699. E: firstname.lastname@example.org.