The world is more competitive than ever and as parents if you want your children to succeed, you should be on a lookout for opportunities that will give your child that competitive edge.
Scientists and researchers have released many studies that have found that certain activities can augment your child’s academic skills and provide them with additional benefits that ensure they grow into intelligent, capable and well-rounded individuals that can positively contribute to the society.
Here are 6 activities that engage your child’s brain and enhance their academic, social and life skills.
1. Learning a musical instrument
Extensive studies have linked learning music to higher levels of intelligence. Picking up a musical instrument will help your child excel in academics. When children learn to play music, they are able to hear subtle differences in sounds that they wouldn’t have been able to earlier. This “neurophysiological distinction” helps them in literacy which in turn aids them in academics.
A study conducted by Northwestern University found that students who played musical instruments had improved neural processing than those who merely listened to it. The creation of music is what rewires the brain. Children who’d been highly involved in musical training were also the ones with good attendance and high participation in class.
2. Performing arts
A study published in USA Today found that children who were involved in some form of performing arts were better at reading, writing and math compared to those that were only focused on academics. Participating in performing arts was specifically helpful for those children that struggled with academics and require remedial education. It can also improve motivation, confidence, reading and cognitive ability.
Students are shaped to become goal-oriented when they actively participate in performing arts since they constantly prepare for recitals and performances. Because the performing arts engage students creatively, it also opens up students to different perspectives and encourages them to think out-of-the-box.
Getting your children to take up a sport, whether it’s individual or a team based one, will be highly beneficial for them. Participating in sports can help build self-esteem, confidence, team-work and leadership skills. Because most schools will require students to maintain their grades for them to hold positions in sports teams, students are motivated to excel academically.
Social skills may be the biggest takeaway for children participating in sports. Children learn to interact with kids their age and older adults (coaches and sports officials). There’s an emphasis on working as a team so they also learn how to handle conflict and be supportive of each other. Students who become captains of their teams learn leadership and communication skills which they will benefit from throughout their lives.
Children always emulate the behavior of adults that they are closest to, so in these primitive years if you model the best behavior, it will leave an imprint on them. Volunteering as a family is the best way to show your children what it is like to give to others. Through volunteering, you’re teaching your children what it feels like to make a difference in other’s lives, you’re instilling a sense of compassion in them. By interacting with those that have less than them, children also learn to be grateful for what they do have. If you want your children to grow up to be empathetic and supportive individuals in the community then show them the ropes to volunteering.
Research conducted by Plymouth Institute of Education found that camping had a positive effect on the education of children. The study revealed that parents felt that their children appreciate what they are taught in classrooms more when they are able to relate it to their outdoor adventures. Experiencing historic and educational sites excited their children and triggered their interest in learning more.
Moreover, camping taught the children to be confident in the natural environment. They were armed with knowledge and skills that prepare them to live independently.
6. Learning a foreign language
Children who learn foreign languages have better cognitive abilities than those that don’t. They have better problem solving and critical thinking abilities along with more creativity which results in improved academic performance. Bilingual students tend to perform better in Math and standardized tests as well. Learning another language will actually enhance your English proficiency as well.
Additionally, by learning a language your child will also be learning a new culture which promotes an understanding of cultural diversity. It also opens up your child to certain jobs in the future which require employees to speak multiple languages such as diplomats, airline executives and national security personnel.
In an increasingly competitive world, your child will need to garner as many skills as possible for them to be able to stand out from the rest. The above-mentioned activities will not only help your child excel academically but it will also help them grow into more capable and resourceful citizens of the world.