Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

Printer Friendly Version

Title: Born Winners

Category: Child Care


Thomas Armstrong, a former public school teacher and active parenting author, recently wrote a book entitled Awakening Your Child's Natural Genius. The book starts out with a powerful opening line: "Your child is a genius". Mr. Armstrong goes on throughout the book to express his feeling that all children have inner genius in some areas. As wise parents, we should recognize our children's gifts and develop them to the utmost. He makes several suggestions on bringing out our children's natural gifts. He also comments on several ways to enhance their school learning experience and to improve educational standards.

Mr. Armstrong feels that the best learning environment for young children is a free play environment without rigid controls. He believes parents must spend time with their children and allow them to experience the world around them and share that experience with them. If your child taps on the furniture, rather that scolding him perhaps he needs music lessons. Mr. Armstrong recommends getting involved in your child's everyday activities including things you do around the house such as sharing cooking time with a child and teaching him fractions as you put together recipes. He believes the best way to enhance their musical ability is to sing to them on a regular basis. By reading to your children regularly you enhance their reading readiness skills. Also, you can obtain scratch and sniff books and reader friendly books appropriate to your own children's age and developmental readiness. He also recommends keeping lots of writing materials and fun materials handy and letting the kids try to write and draw on a regular basis. Never criticize art work but do encourage participation.

As the children grow older and get into school, encourage their extra-curricular involvements. This includes going to museums, writing journals, getting involved with computers and music, and just plain free play. A good way to spur your child's mind in the science area is to ask them open-ended questions. In other words, ask them, "what would happen if". or "how do you explain such and such". Visit planetariums, zoos, aquariums and museums with them and spur their curiosity.

In the history area, he recommends sharing your own life history, your family tree and planning family events for special holidays such as Fourth of July and Memorial Day. Watch special movies and television programs which focus on these events. You should watch them together with your child and ask questions.

Mr. Armstrong recommends controlling television and spending more time reading. There are a great many things that can be learned on TV such as music, the arts, documentaries and special news programs, only if we control and guide our children's TV time and what they actually watch.

Mr. Armstrong, who was a former public school teacher, feels that there are still many road blocks in our educational system which he describes as a "paper and pencil factory". The road blocks include testing, grades, stress, boredom, dull tasteless books, bland teachers, and student labeling. He feels that homework could be more creative such as writing in journals and creating science experiments with things around the house rather than doing laborious work sheets. He feels that though we have improvements in education we still live in a "work sheet waste land" with too much teacher focus on testing at the expense of real learning. He has several ways to improve education in this book as well as hundreds of suggestions of creative ways to bring out the real genius in each of our children. I highly recommend this book for any parent interested in helping to bring out the natural genius in their child.