How to encourage intellectual development in a child

Kids playing

Intellectual development is development of the mind. The mind is the thinking part of the brain – the part which is used for recognizing reasoning, knowing and understanding. A child’s mind is active from the time he is born. Day by day, as the child grows, the mind develops as he: learns about people, learns about things, learns about new skills, learns to communicate, acquires more memories and gains more experience.

As a child’s mind develops, he becomes more intelligent. How intelligent the child becomes will depend on two main factors:


⇛Genes: these controls the amount of natural intelligence he or she has.

⇛Environment: the use the child makes of his intelligence will be very much influenced by the environment in which he grows up.

How to encourage intellectual development in a child


In the first year:


Development of a baby’s mind is helped when parents:
  • Talk to the baby.
  • Play with the baby.
  • Place the baby in a position where he can see what is going on around him or her.
  • Provide toys and objects which he or she can handle and investigate, and which encourage him or her to concentrate.
  • Allow him or her to practice new skills as soon as he ready – e.g. feeding himself.
  • From the age of about 9 months, start to read to him or her, tell him or her stories and show him pictures.

After the first year


Development of a child’s mind is helped when the child is encouraged to:
  • Talk.
  • Practice new skills – dressing himself or herself, drawing, playing games.
  • Be curious and ask questions.
  • Explore new places.
  • Play with other children.
  • Play with toys which stimulate his imagination.
  • Be creative and make things.
  • Listen to stories.
  • Look at books, and eventually learn to read.

Conditions which hinder intellectual development in a child


The following conditions can slow down the rate of development of a child’s mind:
  • Lack of enough opportunities for talking and playing.
  • Nothing of interest for the child to do.
  • Constant nagging or bullying from other people
  • Deafness
  • Poor eyesight
  • Poor concentration
  • Frequent illness
  • Frequent absence from school.
If these adverse conditions persists for too long, they may prevent full development of the child’s natural intelligence.
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