Your Child Is Smart in More Ways Than One!

Intelligence is more than just being booksmart. Child psychologists have developed theories of multiple intelligences. Read on to learn more and find out how this may apply to your child.

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Psychologist Howard Gardner crafted a theory concerning the intelligence of young children that he called the Multiple Intelligence Theory. It states that there are many ways for a child to be smart. The underlying philosophy is to ask not, 'How smart is this child?' but instead to ask 'How is this child smart?'

Intelligence in the Early Years

In their first years, children explore and learn how to get along with others as well as how to meet their own needs. These modes of discovery contribute to the development of a child's intelligence and intuition. Intelligence and aptitude of this sort cannot be measured by a standardized test, nor can such aspects of intelligence as how quickly a child learns to speak or walk.

Seven Different Intelligences

According to Dr. Garnder's Multiple Intelligence Theory, every one of us, children included, possesses seven 'intelligences.' That is, there are seven ways in which we can be smart. Each child has different capacities for each of the seven intelligences. For example, one child may be very adept at using his hands, while another is good at making rhymes or singing songs. It's vital to emphasize that each type of intelligence has something to offer to the world. What makes each of us unique is the way in which each of these seven intelligences shows up in our behavior, our interaction with others and in the way we go through the day.

Recognize to Maximize

Recognizing multiple intelligences is a great way to help a child discover and develop his individual strengths. When a child is properly stimulated, his interests and the various opportunities his education provide him with will help him learn more about what he's good at and how to integrate areas of weakness so that they do not become debilitating. This doesn't mean you can spot in your 3 year old a future a future accountant, artist, or athlete. But it does mean you can interact with your child as he discovers his world and help to feed his interests as he develops his own skills and abilities.

Here are the seven intelligences comprised by Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory:

  • Linguistic Intelligence- It's often a characteristic of journalists, lawyers and storytellers. People who are word smart are best at using both the spoken and the written word to communicate.
  • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence- It's often a characteristic of scientists, accountants and computer programmers. People who are logic smart are good at reasoning and think in terms of cause and effect.
  • Spatial Intelligence- Picture smart people tend to think in pictures or images. A picture smart person is good at following directions and is able to visualize and draw accurately.
  • Musical Intelligence- It's the ability to keep time with music, sing in tune and discern difference between musical selections. People who are music smart are those who can best perceive and appreciate melodies.
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence- People with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are skilled at controlling their own movements. This involves not only outdoor sports, but finer hand-tasks like sewing and carpentry.
  • Interpersonal Intelligence- People with high Interpersonal Intelligence can understand, respond to, and work well with other people. It's the gift of empathy.
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence- People with high Intrapersonal Intelligence are contemplative and easily able to access their own feelings. They may be introspective and enjoy meditation and other activities focused on the knowledge of the self.

When considering your child's multiple intelligences, consider the whole child. The point is not to focus on strengths and ignore weaknesses. And don't evaluate based on some false idea of which intelligences are most useful. Everyday life requires all seven in some form or another. By exploring all seven intelligences, a child will become a well-rounded individual and has a chance at success in many aspects of life.

You should try to recognize your child's different strengths as they emerge. Let him express himself and he will teach you everything you need to know to understand and to help him. If children have opportunities to learn in the areas they prefer and improve in their areas of weakness they will grow to become intelligent in many different ways. By recognizing those strengths and weaknesses you will be able to participate and help your child grow to his fullest potential.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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