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The role of parents has always been an influential yet often daunting challenge. In today’s era of digital access, real time, the job has gotten harder AND more important than ever.

Some say children are growing up too fast, and they are correct. On the other hand, children grow up as fast as the times dictate. However, since nobody has yet to write a definitive ‘bible’ of parenting, here are a few basics that parents hope to teach:

Parents wish their child to be ‘smart’. But what is smart exactly? Smart can mean ‘too big for your britches’, and that is a disrespectful type of smart…like having a smart mouth. No parent wishes their child to be that kind of smart…ever.

What parents do want is for their child to be inquisitively intelligent. They want their child to love learning new things. They wish their child does well in school and eventually in life and career. In order for your child to love learning and soaking in new ideas, concepts and facts, children will fare better when they see it before them-on a regular basis. Model it!

If you want your child to crave information, show them that you, too, are in an ongoing search for knowledge. There is an ever-present curiosity that children possess. In fact, they embody curiosity.

Pay close attention to your child. Take your cues from him or her. As soon as your child begins to focus as an infant, name what they may be focusing upon. Begin reading to your child as early as possible. Start with books with lots of colorful pictures.

Words won’t matter as much as the pictures. Place your attention on naming the pictures, describing each image. Be excited, animated at all times. Your excitement is contagious. As your child gets older, soon enough, words will have meaning on the same pages. For now, you can read, but focus on naming the pictures.

Don’t worry that your child will soon pick up a book and place it in their mouths. That is just how children learn about the world around them. That will pass. Don’t get too upset when this happens. Just politely and calmly take the book and demonstrate how it is done. Start to read and fascinate them with the pictures. Point out each image as you describe it, pronounce it. Marvel in it!

It doesn’t matter how well you read, for in the beginning, it’s all about the pictures on each page. If your child goes to the back of the book, don’t fret. Continue identifying images and describing them, and actions, too. Later on, you will begin to point out and work on letters of the alphabet.

If you don’t have many or any children’s books in your home, visit your local library and borrow a few to take home for a week or two. Actually, books aren’t completely necessary to introducing your child to the powers of literacy, early reading, and the love of learning-becoming smart.

When you go along your daily travels, and your child is with you, point everything out to your child. Name them. Trains, buses, stop signs, etc…. As your child’s language develops, you’ll be surprised at what is retained.

At home, eventually you will label everything. Use crayon, pencil, marker or whatever writing utensil handy. Take heavy duty[thick] paper[whatever is affordable] and cut it into small pieces. Use each piece to label things like the kitchen sink, bathtub, window, door, TV, cups, etc…. Visit your refrigerator and label the eggs, milk, juice, meat, etc….

These are just a few ways to strategize your desire to prepare your child for school success, reading, the love for books, and learning. Smart is as smart does! If, once he or she becomes a reader, is constantly reading, support it-don’t discourage it. Just ensure that there is a healthy balance between books and going outside and getting fresh air. Playing and socializing with peers. Hands on!

The absolute best strategy to employ in hopes that your child will be a smart kid is to be a smart parent. We all know that most children will be smarter than their parents[at their ages]. School concepts and instructional content have changed. As we advance in science, research and our understanding of skills and competencies necessary for the 21st Century, we embed them into teaching strategies.

Parents don’t need to be rocket scientists in order to raise smart children. You only need to be supportive in their endeavors. Your child needs to see you seek knowledge, loving to read books, the newspaper, asking questions, and your honest desire for growth.

Even if your preference is romance novels or gossip magazines, let your child see you reading and loving it. Your hopes to raise a smart child will be that much closer to reality. What we wish children to learn, we must show them what it looks like. Don’t just say it, be it.

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