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How to raise smart kids

posted Oct 24, 2017, 11:36 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Oct 24, 2017, 12:30 PM ]
Some questions come up a lot in my life.

"Why do you send your kids to public school?"
"How can I get _____ (name omitted to protect the not-so-innocent) to stop talking?"
"Are you all done having kids yet?"

and the one that really makes me cringe:

"Why are your kids so smart?"

Well, I'll tell you right out - there's probably just some genetics there. Sorry, it's always awkward to say, because it feels so darn un-humble. (I know, that's not a real word.) But neither of their parents really had a hard time in school, so I guess that's just a talent they get.

But that's not what you're really asking, is it. What you really want to know is, how can I help my child be smart? And the answer is:

Turn off the TV. In fact, get rid of the TV.

TV makes you dumb. It teaches you to accept things without thinking for yourself. It steals time. People on TV act dumb, and then your kids think they should act that way.

When you turn off the TV, your kids will have nothing to do. It will be painful at first. They will drive you crazy. Then, little by little, they'll start to think for themselves and find things to do. (Tip: if they say, "I'm bored!" then help them not be bored by giving them a chore to do. They'll quit complaining quickly!)

The best thing that will happen is that they'll start reading books to fill the time. Not only will this make them more interesting, it will make school much better. Your job as a parent will be to figure out how to get enough books to keep them happy. I recommend the library. Many of my most intelligent friends and family members disagree with me on this - they're afraid of overdue fees and lost books. But you know, even if you're paying overdue fees and losing books all the time, it's still a good investment. First off, it's cheaper than your cable bill, and nobody's complaining about that. And if you really took my advice, you got rid of your cable bill, anyway. Secondly, you'll still get to read a lot of books for not very much money. So just embrace the occasional (or frequent) overdue fee and lost book as the price of raising smart kids. 

I bet that wasn't what you were expecting, was it? :)

ps - Your phone and tablet count, too. Sorry, even educational apps. Save them for special treats.