How To Make Your Kids Smarter: 10 Steps Backed By Science

Article from TIME magazine by Eric Barker titled How To Make Your Kids Smarter: 10 Steps Backed By Science

9) Peer Group Matters

So what does have an enormous affect on your children’s behavior? Their peer group.

We usually only talk about peer pressure when it’s a negative but more often than not, it’s a positive.

Living in a nice neighborhood, going to solid schools and making sure your children hang out with good kids can make a huge difference.

What’s the easiest way for a college student to improve their GPA? Pick a smart roommate.

  1. Music Lessons
  2. The Dumb Jock Is A Myth
  3. Don’t Read To Your Kids, Read With Them
  4. Sleep Deprivation Makes Kids Stupid
  5. IQ Isn’t Worth Much Without Self-Discipline
  6. Learning Is An Active Process
  7. Treats Can Be a Good Thing — At The Right Time
  8. Happy Kids = Successful Kids
  9. Peer Group Matters
  10. Believe In Them
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The Simple Phrase that Increases Effort 40%

From New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle’s Talent Code Blog

“To their surprise, researchers discovered that there was one particular type of teacher feedback that improved student effort and performance so much that they deemed it “magical.” Students who received this feedback chose to revise their paper far more often that students who did not (a 40 percent increase among white students; 320 percent boost among black students) and improved their performance significantly. (See the study here.)

What was the magical feedback?

Just one phrase:

I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.

That’s it. Just 19 words. But they’re powerful because they are not really feedback. They’re a signal that creates something more powerful: a sense of belonging and connection.

Looking closer, the phrase contains several distinct signals:

1) You are part of this group.
2) This group is special; we have higher standards here.
3) I believe you can reach those standards.”

Losing Is Good for You

By Ashley Merryman, the co-author of the book “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing,” and author of a recent NY Times Opinion piece “Losing is Good For You

“In life, “you’re going to lose more often than you win, even if you’re good at something,” Ms. Twenge told me. “You’ve got to get used to that to keep going.”

“our job should not be to spin those losses into decorated victories. Instead, our job is to help kids overcome setbacks, to help them see that progress over time is more important than a particular win or loss”

Best Parenting Tip Ever

From New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle’s Talent Code Blog

For three decades, Miller and Brown made a habit of asking college-age athletes about the ways their parents had made a positive or negative impact. After several hundred interviews with a wide cross-section of kids, their informal survey had two insightful discoveries. Number one: what kids hate most, by an overwhelming margin, is the conversations during the ride home after the game. You know, that quiet, strained, slightly uncomfortable time when parents ask questions, give praise, offer critiques, and generally get involved by saying things like:

Great job today. So what happened on that play?
What did your coach tell the team after the game?
Do you think the team could have hustled more?

These types of moments, Miller and Brown point out, are well intentioned, and often contain truth, but the timing is toxic. The moments after a game are not the time for judgement or pressure and definitely not for instruction (which is the job of the coach, not the parent). In fact, many of the kids said they preferred having grandparents attend games, because they are more joyful and less pressurizing than parents.

But it’s not all bad news. Because there’s a second finding to emerge from their work, and it might be the best parenting tip I’ve ever read.

The kids reported there was one phrase spoken by parents that brought them happiness. One simple sentence that made them feel joyful, confident, and fulfilled. Just six words.

I love to watch you play.

It doesn’t matter if you spend 1000 hours practicing if you’re doing it wrong, all you learned is how to do it wrong.

From Reddit user bradlee92 …

“It doesn’t matter if you spend 1000 hours practicing if you’re doing it wrong, all you learned is how to do it wrong.”

From a tennis blog

“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. So every time you repeat an action, right or wrong, you will find it easier to repeat that same action, right or wrong.

Practicing a bad shot will give you a better bad shot, but you will never look like Roger Federer.”

The more a person is committed to a goal … the more negative compared with positive feedback will be efficient.

From a post titled “When Is a Negative a Positive?” on Freakonomics.com.

Ayelet Fishbach of the University of Chicago …

The more a person is committed to a goal — and by that I mean the more someone thinks that they absolutely have to do it, they like doing it, it’s important for them to do it — the more negative compared with positive feedback will be efficient”

Heidi Grant Halvorson, associate director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Business School …

“Look, doling out negative feedback is not fun. It’s embarrassing. We feel terrible. We feel guilty.  So we love hearing, ‘Hey, maybe I don’t have to give negative feedback,’ ‘Maybe I can just say positive things!’  ‘If I just keep saying positive things, then somehow this person will work to their fullest potential and everything will turn out fine.’ And that just turns out to not be the case.”

Get on the floor with your kids. They’ll come over and climb on top of you and relax. The more you can get on their level, the less problems you’ll have.

From a wonderful article on parenting advice by Elliott Davis in the Boston Globe …

Debbie Leekeenan, Director, Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University

“Allow your children the space to ‘fall’ so they can learn to get up. Teaching your child resiliency is one way to cope with life’s challenges. It is better to experience small setbacks when you are young and learn how to deal with them.”

Bob Monahan, Founder and owner, UPPAbaby 

“Get on the floor with your kids. They’ll come over and climb on top of you and relax. The more you can get on their level, the less problems you’ll have.”

Chritine Koh, Founder and editor, BostonMamas.com; coauthor, Minimalist Parenting

“Present good, healthy options, but do not force-feed them. That translates to everything, including extracurriculars and other activities. It’s about giving your kids options and encouraging them to figure out what works for them.”

Alma Wahlberg, Works at son Paul’s Hingham restaurant, Alma Nove

“Pay attention to what your kids are doing. Be interested in everything they’re doing and be involved. Don’t just send them off to the game. Somebody’s got to go and watch.”

Jeff Kinney, Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

“Use the phrase ‘I understand’ with your kids, especially when they’re angry or upset. I’ve found that by telling your kids that you’ve felt what they’re feeling — even if what they’re feeling is irrational — it lets them know you’re on their side.