All parents want to raise intelligent children, but many wonder how they can go about doing this. The first step is to define “intelligence.” According to Glenn Doman’s book How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge, intelligence is, “a product of three things: the ability to read; the ability to do math; the amount of encyclopedic knowledge one has (Doman p. xi). Based on this three level system any parent can instill intelligence by addressing each area: reading, mathematics, and encyclopedic knowledge.
The next question many parents ask is “when?” When should you start teaching your child? When should your child start learning? According to popular research the earlier learning begins the faster and easier it is for your child to soak up information. In the first three to five years of life, while the brain is developing, learning occurs very easily. Glenn Doman specifies that one-year-olds, for example, are easier to teach than six year olds.
Are you ready to start an intelligence program with your child? If so, we have a few pointers and great reference materials that will make you feel less overwhelmed. Doman’s book helps guide parents through the first step in bringing out your child’s intelligence – reading! First of all, it is encouraged that parents or other primary caregivers are the ones who start teaching the child. It doesn’t matter if the parent stays home all day or only works with the child a few hours a day; as long as there is love and confidence the child will be motivated. Also pay attention to your attitude. Expect to have fun with your child, don’t create a strict environment. Instead approach your teaching like it’s a “game,” but a consistent game you only play when both you and your child are happy. Consistency is important because children learn through repetition. As long as you are not boring the baby, it is better to show fewer words more often. If you fear that the child is losing interest, speed up your game and change the content more often. Also pay attention to the size and order of the reading material. The basic structure of this reading program involves using large pieces of cardboard with words printed on them to show your baby. Therefore, the younger the child the larger the print on the cards should be. If your child gets overwhelmed by straining their eyes to read the text he or she will not want to pay attention to actually learning. Eventually you can make the print smaller and the words and sentences longer, but it must be done gradually. What is most important is starting your reading program as early as possible. It’s great to start teaching when your child is 3-years-old, but ideally, children are ready from 0-24 mo to be introduced to reading materials. When you are ready to end your daily activity please remember to stop before your child wants to stop. This way, your child will always be excited for the next learning session. Although it may seem like a good idea to test your child’s progress every now and then, do NOT do this. Testing is not an enjoyable activity and could cause your child to lose interest in the “game” of reading activities.
The next area parents should focus on is teaching their babies basic mathematical problem solving. Glenn Doman has created a widely popular system for teaching number knowledge to very young children. Instead of having your child memorize counting up, he has created a simpler method. This “Dot Method” claims that all children have an ability to identify the quantity of objects by sight rather than by actually counting (similar to how Rainman can look at hundreds of objects and say the exact number present). The teaching method involves flashcards with multiple dots printed on them. Eventually your child will begin identifying the quantity of dots and progress to figuring out equations, algebraic sequences, and inequalities. The detailed process is explained in Doman’s book, How to Teach Your Baby Math. As a parent teaching this math method you also want to begin as soon as possible and follow many of the basic rules stated above in the reading section. Always stay positive and make your learning sessions fun. The materials you use should be well prepared and updated frequently. Most important, you must be consistent with your attitude, frequency, and overall usage of the method.
Once you feel comfortable with your reading and math programs, you can start encyclopedic knowledge learning with your child. In addition to skills, parental educators also should be addressing information. Encyclopedic knowledge gives your child more room to identify his or her own dislikes and interests. Such information presented at a young age will help your baby eventually grow into a more worldly and capable adolescent. Some popular topics you can start with are as follows: animals, art, astronomy, sciences, culture, music, plants, transportation, human body, or religion. Even the youngest child can be exposed to such material. Picture books specifically designed to be educational resources for children are great places to start. Look for simpler items for younger children (for example, books with simple words to go with each image). Another great idea is to make books for your child featuring images and simple labels so they can begin word associations.
This page features a collection of simple Powerpoint presentations that your child could either watch on the computer screen or you may print out each slide and create a book from these images.
No matter what area of learning you and your child are currently working on it is very important to make sure you are also addressing emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is your child’s ability to understand their own feelings and the emotions other people experience. Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, explains how understanding one’s emotions enables a child to form better relationships and furthers social skills. These skills help children learn to take initiative, make responsible choices, and form relationships in which learning can occur. By respecting your child and incorporating communication with your lessons you can help your child learn about themselves. There are many wonderful books to help guide you in this behavior. Positive parenting books by Kerby T. Alvy, one of the country’s most respected child psychologists, are a great place to start. “Gentle Revolution” publishes one of the leading parenting series as well. Anything published by Teachers College Press also has great information.
If you want an intelligent child, you must take on a multi-step approach. If you begin educating your child from birth, brain development will become enriched and your child’s mind will be well prepared for the real world. Combining teaching, love, and emotional understanding any parent can reach out and make those important connections with their babies that can last a lifetime!