Every parent wishes that their child is intelligent and smarter than the rest. However, each child is different and have their own sets of skills and talents. While some children are good at academics others are good at sports, music, and dramatics or even cooking. Raising a child to be intelligent is all about making a child reach their full potential. The experiences and exercises that the brain gets during a child’s formative years makes the child smarter.
A child will develop many areas of intelligence. Some will be dominant while some will not. As a parent, identifying your child’s intelligence will help you maximize their learning potential.
What is intelligence and what is multiple intelligence?
Intelligence is termed as the ability to process information, learn, understand and reason out.
Every child is unique and differs in their intelligence. Howard Gardener came up with the theory of “Multiple Intelligences”. According to his theory, every individual possesses multiple intelligences. They include:
- Linguistic intelligence: The ability to learn and use language in both verbal and written form.
- Logical-mathematical intelligence: The ability to analyze problems, carry out mathematical operations and think logically.
- Musical: The ability to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms.
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: The ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements.
- Spatial intelligence: The ability to recognize and use patterns, space, and confined areas.
- Interpersonal intelligence: The ability to work with people and understand others.
- Intrapersonal intelligence: The ability to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations.
In addition to these 7 bits of intelligence, Naturalist intelligence (intelligence to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature) and Existential intelligence (intelligence to tackle questions on human existence and life) also exist.
Each child will possess any or some of these bits of intelligence in different degrees. Try and recognize which intelligences your child possess and then nurture it accordingly. A child who has high linguistic ability can turn into a writer, poet, or a lawyer. A child who is good at logic and reasoning may find engineering or science to be more interesting. A child who is friendly, and mingles with people easily is someone who may be good at interpersonal intelligence. These children can look for a future in marketing, politics or education.
However, as a parent, you need to provide a holistic approach to child rearing. You must expose your child to various activities which involve sports, music, games, social gathering along with education. Also, pay close attention to what your child is good at, and his or her interests, likes, dislikes, and aptitude. This will help you to recognize which intelligences are prominent.
Grades, report cards and an open discussion with teachers will also help recognize the child’s prominent intelligence. Often children will display multiple intelligences. Identify them and nurture them.
Given below are some tips to help nurture multiple intelligences in your child.
- Linguistic intelligence: For developing linguistic intelligence create an atmosphere for reading and writing. Give them word games, encourage them to read and write. Supplement school books with encyclopedias and storybooks. Inculcate reading habits. If you read, chances are your kids will read as well. Also introduce them to podcasts, short stories narratives, lectures etc. to improve their listening skills.
- Logical intelligence: For logical intelligence let children think logically about day to day problems and come with solutions. Introduce them to brain teasers, puzzles, logic games and scientific experiments.
- Spatial intelligence: Let children see and draw a picture, read maps etc. Take them to museums, art galleries. Let them participate in painting competitions. Building blocks are also a good way to help build spatial intelligence.
- Kinesthetic intelligence: For developing kinesthetic intelligence participating in drama, sports and dance work well. Also, go out and play, move, jump around and have fun!
- Musical intelligence: Listening to music, singing along, learning to play an instrument works well. Expose them to music early in life. Making them listen to classics and songs early in life also helps.
- Interpersonal intelligence: Community involvement, social activities help build interpersonal intelligence. Emphasize on self-respect, self-esteem, self-discipline, resilience to build intrapersonal intelligence.
- Naturalistic intelligence: Interest in plants and animals and surroundings help build naturalistic intelligence. Ask them to take care of your plants, or gift them a plan. Share books about plants and animals. Take them on a botanical tour if possible.
While these are ways to build specific intelligence, it helps to create a holistic multiple intelligence plans. The plan should outline each activity you can focus on a daily basis. The idea is to provide your child a well-rounded exposure to the various activities that build multiple intelligence.
Parents need to know that all types of intelligence are highly regarded. Make sure you do not push the child as per your interest and don’t drive the child to achieve your dreams. Do not outweigh any activity as per what seems to be good or bad to you. Keep the child in focus and gauge his or her capabilities and work with them in that direction to help reach them their potential.