A child is like dough. It will shape up the way you want it to mold. Nature and nurture have equally played crucial roles in determining how we grow up as adults. Intelligence is inherited, but environmental factors also play a significant role in developing intelligence in a child.
The Importance of Nurture:
Human beings have many complex mental abilities. Intelligence is one such mental capacity to reason logically, think abstractly, gather new knowledge, learn efficiently from one’s experiences and later use them when and where needed. It encapsulates the broader ability of a person to comprehend one’s surroundings and make sense of it, and knowing how to deal and cope with problems. Intelligence is being street smart and not just book-smart.
Does this mental power come from our parents, or does it develop meaningful interactions with our environment?
According to many types of research, genetics play a more significant role in determining an individual’s intelligence, but environmental factors also influence the person’s intelligence.
5 Environmental Factors that Influence a Child's Intelligence:
Environmental factors include any circumstantial or external factors, most of which are under our control and can be manipulated for positive results. The immediate environment where the child spends most parts of its growing years should be given more importance. Some of the essential factors are :
Many researchers have pointed out that malnutrition during the developing years (1-5 years) leads to delayed physical, motor, and cognitive development and causes a reduction in IQ by 15 points. For example, breastfeeding a child has multiple positive roles in a child’s overall development. It is a wholesome source of micronutrients for a baby’s development and encourages mother-child interaction which aids in developing vital emotional intelligence.
2. Cognitive Stimulation
Growing children need sufficient mental stimulation at home through both structured and unstructured games like building block games, memory games, word association games, puzzle-solving, pretend plays, gardening, fun math games, etc., to aid neurodevelopment in them. The quality of teaching at the kindergarten also influences the kid’s intelligence. Education that focuses more on problem-solving through games and introduces storytelling as a part of learning will stimulate the child’s fertile brain.
3. Physical Exercise
Exercises increase oxygen flow to the brain, which ensures a healthy brain. In children, exercises help in forming new memories and consolidating them. Games that include physical exercises like outdoor activities such as hopscotch, cycling, hide and seek, ‘catch me if you can,’ etc., can be highly beneficial for children.
4. Parenting Style
While a child grows up, a child needs to be left to explore its surroundings and ‘find out things by themselves. Parents need to motivate curiosity in their kids and also patiently answer their inquisitions. A healthy balance should be maintained between the child’s autonomy and the parent’s control. Parents as role models also influence child intelligence. Parents should opt for responsive and involved caregiving. When parents successfully cultivate a positive relationship with their children, they learn to teach empathy, kindness, and social skills. It will help you determine how self-aware the child will be as an adult.
5. Cultivating Hobbies
Hobbies open up opportunities to expand one’s creative potential. Playing musical instruments and dancing can help develop spatial and fine motor intelligence in a child. Reading ensures bulk knowledge and other creative hobbies like crafting, painting, and writing will broaden a child’s mental capacity.
Intelligence is not only influenced by genes but also strongly influenced by the environment. Factors related to a child’s home environment and parenting, education, nutrition, among others, all contribute to intelligence.