Written by Solaade Ayo-Aderele - Nigeria
Holiday is over and schools have reopened for the new academic year. While the long vacation lasted, knowledgeable parents allowed their children to enjoy the holiday full blast by making them to follow their passion.
Well, all that is over now and rigorous academic work has commenced. As parents, you may have paid your child's tuition, bought the uniform and sundry other stuffs that will make the new school year a good success.
But before you give yourself thumbs-up for a job well done, you still have one crucial step to take: helping to raise your child's Intelligent Quotient! Here's how to go about it...
PE is not a waste!
Many schools these days have done away with the playground. Rather, the available spaces have been converted to classrooms, all in a bid to show parents state-of-the-art structures. Little do they know that physical education does play a significant role in a child's academic prowess.
If you are still in doubt, experts in physical education say there's a positive relationship between physical activity and the academic performance of children.
Professor of Physical Education, Vincent Ikhariale, says, "Though the pressure to improve test scores may often mean more instructional time for classroom subjects, with less time for physical activity; yet, there are strong evidence showing a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance."
He advises that being more physically active is positively related to improved academic performance in children; noting that exercise may help cognition by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain, decrease stress and improve mood; and overall increase growth factors.
Ditch junk foods
Healthy eating is still very much in vogue, hence scientists' warning that foods high in sugar and saturated fats will not only make your child sick and obese, they can actually lower your child's IQ!
In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiological Community Health, researchers tracked the eating habits of 4,000 children from age three and tested their intelligence at age eight-and-a-half.
The scientists, led by Dr. Kate Northstone of the Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, discovered that children who ate the most processed foods, with a lot of convenience food, fat and sugar, had IQ scores 1.67 points lower than their counterparts whose diets included more fruits, vegetables, fish and pasta.
So, make it a habit from now on to fill your child's lunch box with nutritive foods such as fruits and other whole foods.
Expose him to Omega-3
A new report published in Perspectives on Psychological Science claims that supplementing children's diets with fish oil, enrolling them in quality preschool, and engaging them in interactive reading are effective ways of raising a young child's intelligence.
Scientists, led by John Protzko, a doctoral student at the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, conclude that certain dietary and environmental interventions can be effective in raising children's IQ.
Protzko says supplementing pregnant women and newborns with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, foods rich in Omega-3, were found to boost children's IQ by more than 3.5 points. Consultant nutritionist, Dr. Simeon Oladimeji, says, "These essential fatty acids may help raise intelligence by providing the building blocks for nerve cell development that the body cannot produce on its own."
Encourage interactive reading
Associate Professor of Guidance and Counselling, Mopelola Omoegun, advises that by encouraging a child to read, it improves his intelligence. Technically called "interactive reading," the university teacher says engaging children in this pastime can boost their intelligent quotient.
So, instead of telling your child to read silently instead of reading aloud, those who should know better advise that you let him "disturb" you with his loud reading!
Many parents hurry out of the home without the least thought to the need to prepare breakfast for their growing babies. This is wrong, as researchers warn that children who start their days with a healthy breakfast are more focused, better prepared for the day's challenges and ultimately get higher grades and test scores.
A study conducted by scientists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital reveals that when children have daily access to a breakfast that provides them with 25 per cent of the nutrients they need in a day, their test scores are likely to improve significantly, while level of tardiness will fall dramatically.
These days, many schools employ music teachers to teach the subject. Whether or not the school owners know the implications of this for IQ development, researchers at the University of Toronto say music lessons boost brain power among children ages six to 11 years old.
Led by Glenn Schellenberg, the scientists opine that "correlational and quasi-experimental studies reveal that music lessons have positive associations with verbal memory."
In layman's language, what this translates into is that music lessons positively impact some aspects of development - that is intellectual functioning.