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Raising Smart Kids - 31 Practical Parenting Skills

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Can your child mentally exercise his brain to grow smarter? Or is his brain stuck with the intelligence he was born with? Today research tells us that kids aren't stuck. Their intelligence can grow and parents can help.

In this article I'll share 31 ways to promote brain power in your children. The first includes 12 jingles to repeat often. The second includes 9 parenting questions and comments that help kids think. The third offers 10 parenting motivators that boost your youngster's desire to learn. All of them are simple and they help exercise brains just as lifting weights help develop muscles.

12 Self-Talk Sayings to Create Strong Brains

I remember when a teacher gave me her 3 most discouraged students. She wanted me to teach them how to read. They wouldn't even try. They believed they were dumb. But they were wrong.

When children struggle, stick with problems, and solve them, they are exercising their brains to become smarter. It shows too because their brains light up as they make mental connections. These connections help children become smarter.

Talk to your kids about their brains. Say something like, “Your brain needs exercise to be strong. Physical activities strengthen your body, learning strengthens your brain. The more you exercise it, the stronger and smarter it gets.”

“Some kids say, ‘I'm not smart.' That's not true. What is true, when they give up and don't try, their brains aren't exercising.”

“If you'd like to build a strong brain and be smarter, here are some things you might tell yourself. Either choose one or two to repeat often or make up your own brain slogan.”


1. When I study and strain, I develop my brain.
2. Challenges are grand for my brain to expand.
3. When I'm happy in thought, my brain twinkles a lot.
4. If I err, I won't quake. I'll correct each mistake.
5. If my brain's in a spin, I'll just focus again.
6. My brain is upbeat. It's a mental athlete.
7. Study, practice, and grit make me mentally fit.
8. As I learn and grow, my smart brain will glow.
9. Son of a gun, problems are fun.
10. Kids with grit never quit.
11. I'm the gal who makes thinking my pal.
12. I'm the guy who likes to try.

I suggest having them post the slogan they choose on the fridge, above their bed, or on their bedroom door to remind them that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” If one slogan wears out with time, help your kids choose or make up a new one.

9 Ways Parents Help Kids Exercise Their Brains

Give kids responsibility for learning without telling them what to do because it increases their inner motivation. Internal motivation is better than stars, charts, and rewards. You might need them when they are younger but, as they mature, extrinsic rewards are best replaced by their internal drive.

Here are some questions you might use. Notice how they help kids make choices and guide them toward taking charge of their work.


1. How do you want to organize your material?
2. What do you need to work on your project?
3. Where will you get what you need?
4. Can you see a pattern in your solutions that worked?
5. Imagine trying a new strategy. What would it be?
6. What would you like to try next?
7. How did your mistake help you learn?
8. Tell me your thought patterns in figuring that out.
9. Tell me why your solution is logical.


The above questions get children to look inside themselves. It feels good for them to realize how they figured things out. It gives them a new insight into how great their brain is. Make sure you compliment their insights too.

10 Ways Parents Motivate Children's Feelings:


1. How did it feel when you solved the problem?
2. What stopped you from giving up?
3. How did it feel when you took on the challenge and didn't give up?
4. How did you feel about your effort you after you completed your work?
5. How did you feel about fixing your mistake and getting it right?
6. How proud do you feel about sticking to your project?
7. What does it feel like to see patterns that lead to solutions?
8. What does being organized feel like?
9. Why does working hard feel so good?
10. What does being focused feel like?


Such questions show confidence in your children because you help them to reflect on the strategies they used to solve problems and finish projects. These reflections become resources for them to use again and again.

Conclusion for 31 Ways to Raise Smart Kids

Help your children enjoy process of learning. Open the door to a positive view for conquering mental challenges, dealing with mistakes, and exercising their brains with persistent effort.

Avoid lectures, yelling, and discouraging comments. Instead, encourage their positive self-talk with fun jingles and slogans to repeat often. Use questions that promote their internal drive and motivate their feelings.

And one more thing, give them specific compliments about their insights and efforts. If you do, you'll be promoting their character and their brain power too.

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This Short Video Helps Kids Think Smart Kids: 6 Parenting Questions for Intelligent Brains Copy the questions below the video to use with your kids.

Pick up Character Building: Cartoon Guide to Good Manners with Family Discussions


25 Short Story Discussions are included with:
Rhyming Sogans
Role Play Suggestions
Directions for Creating Your Child's Own Good Manners Book


Start Polishing Your Child's Manners Today!

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