Making sure that they demonstrate critical thinking and ensuring that they try out decision-making, instead of being forcefed the thoughts of others. Critical thinking is based on evidence and logic, rather than emotions and memorisation. Critical thinking involves their evaluation of facts and not taking situations at face value.


A child’s mind isn’t a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled. – (anonymous)

I get a lot of questions and inquiries from parents about how to raise an intelligent child who achieves his/her full potential. I make it quite clear that the best way to ensure children achieve their full potential is to nurture their interest gently.

The wonderful fact is that my beliefs have been backed by research. A developmental psychologist from Temple University determined through her research that there are six essential ingredients to raising brilliant children and setting them up to succeed in life.

Succeeding at their tests and exams at school doesn’t mean that they will be good at their future careers and their social interactions. The name of the developmental psychologist is Kathy Hirsch-Pasek and she advised that in order for brilliant kids to blossom, there must be considerations for broader definitions of success.

These are the 6 C’s (or the 6 keys) she endorses:

1. Collaboration

This is a critical part of the skills necessary for 21st century readiness. Training children in the art of collaboration is the foundation of all future success. They have to learn to set aside their own needs for the collective good of others.

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2. Communication

Enabling effective communication skills is a fundamental need for the global economy. This entails that they are able to speak well, and know how to write, how to read, articulate their thought eloquently, and most importantly, they know how to listen well. (A side note: Allow your children to talk for themselves and let them air their views. Give them time to put their thoughts together.)

Instructing children to be a lot more confident creates an environment where they feel empowered enough to fail and take risks. All successful people know that it is extremely valuable to be able to take risks and have self-confidence. Self-doubt is the enemy of progress; confidence and the willingness to take risk will drive to total self-development and potential.

3. Content

Coaching children to process and imbibe the content they are taught is critical. Being able to self-study effectively and assimilate the knowledge means that they can master any field or challenge.

4. Critical Thinking

Making sure that they demonstrate critical thinking and ensuring that they try out decision-making, instead of being forcefed the thoughts of others. Critical thinking is based on evidence and logic, rather than emotions and memorisation. Critical thinking involves their evaluation of facts and not taking situations at face value. It signifies that they will remain calm under pressure and stress.

5. Creative Innovation

Facilitating the creative innovation of your children requires that they take what they already know well and make something new out of this. Critical thinking skills go hand-in-hand with creative innovation, because your kids will be able to make connections across different subjects to create or discover something new.

6. Confidence

Instructing children to be a lot more confident creates an environment where they feel empowered enough to fail and take risks. All successful people know that it is extremely valuable to be able to take risks and have self-confidence. Self-doubt is the enemy of progress; confidence and the willingness to take risk will drive to total self-development and potential.

In essence;

Do:

• Encourage your child to enjoy play;

• Show unconditional love always;

• From birth, vocalise to them over and over that their abilities are limitless;

• Put satisfaction of activities ahead of competitive success;

• Don’t be uptight about whether they excel at academic work; it is OK to celebrate if they do;

• They will be excellent due to your setting high standards, but they ensure that they buy into these standards also.

Don’t:

• Force them into activities when they are younger; go with their interests and encourage exploration.

Adetola Salau, Carismalife4U@gmail.com, an advocate of STEM education, public speaker, author, and social entrepreneur, is passionate about education reform.