As a family life and child development expert, JP has devoted years in nurturing students and strengthening family relations.
Do you think your child is intelligent? When asked this question, quite a number of parents would think about their child in terms of math or science achievement. Although this is a common behavior, we need to relearn what intelligence is all about. Quite a few people believe that intelligence is having high grades in subjects that often give us a nose bleed. However, educators’, psychologists and neuroscientists have a better understanding of what comprises intelligence. Even if your children are doing poorly with fractions, they may have other areas of intelligence. There are different types of intelligence based on the Multiple Intelligence Theory or the MI theory.
As an educator, I’ve seen students excel in one area while lag in another. What’s heartbreaking is that there are parents who fail to recognize the intelligence and skill that their children possess. Often, parents focus on just one intelligence and brand their child as unintelligent. We must understand that children are unique and that they possess certain intelligence that we need to recognize.
Individuals who have this intelligence manage logic and math problems with ease. They can analyze mathematical problems easily and thus come up with solutions quickly. Often, people with this profile also exhibits organizational skills compared to others.
How to identify if your child exhibits logico-mathematic intelligence
- The child can easily do mathematical problems with accuracy and speed
- The child uses logic in solving problems not just in math subjects
- The child is comfortable with thought experiments and logic exercises
- The child organizes thoughts efficiently
How to help your child develop logico-mathematic intelligence
- Provide the child with varying degrees of logic and mathematics problems that he/she can solve
- Start with logic or math problems that are easy then build it up based on the child’s pace and skill
- Use fun ways to practice logic and math skills like math puzzles, brain teasers
- Introduce different resources to build their skills - videos, printed materials
- Introduce fields of study that uses logic and mathematics skills to whet their appetite for their future.
- Start early and use age-appropriate experiences to build this intelligence
Logico-mathematic intelligence is probably one of the well-known competencies in the Multiple Intelligences Theory. It is extremely useful when it comes to making decisions, solving mathematical problems and other related tasks. However, not everyone has the predisposition to work with numbers. As such, helping your child enjoy math is a great way to encourage the love for math and logic.
Individuals with linguistic intelligence often express themselves with ease through verbal and/or written means. Individuals who write well can compose poems and prose effortlessly. Likewise, these individuals can string words to express ideas, emotions more clearly and more emotively. Also, rhyming words comes naturally. Moreover, people who excel in linguistic intelligence are excellent at reading and writing. Furthermore, linguistic intelligence assists in learning new languages.
How to identify if your child has linguistic intelligence
- Your child can use more words compared to his/her peers.
- The child can express himself/herself with words with ease.
- Reading and writing comes natural to the child.
- The child is able to understand and grasp the idea of what he or she is reading without much effort.
- The child communicates well with others
- The child enjoys songs, poems, rhymes and wordplay
How to help your child develop linguistic intelligence
- Expose your child to different materials that will target this intelligence
- Allow the child to express himself/herself through words
- Play different word games
- Let the child write stories and poems
- Give the child the chance to explore different types of songs and poems
- Surround the child with books and written materials that he or she can read
- Encourage the child to write a journal
I remember participating in a debate when I was in high school. I could not understand why I was there. I faced other students who were eloquent. Moreover, their train of thought were clear and concise giving everyone spotless arguments. I on the other hand had determination and a poorly organized rebuttal. Obviously, we lost. Our ability to convey information relies on our ability to organize our thoughts and choose the appropriate words. They may have thought they were debating with a Neanderthal. This experience underscores the importance of our command of language when we want to share information, inspire, or influence others.
Communication is an integral part of our daily lives. Our ability to express our thoughts and understand others play a critical role in building relationships. There are individuals who can easily navigate the intricacies of language while others find it difficult. Regardless of your child’s ability it is wise to build his/her linguistic intelligence early on in life.
During my practicum in college, the students I handled were preparing for a Christmas program. I had friend teach them a dance that they will perform. There was this talented student who learned all the steps instantly. She performed flawlessly. After a few more minutes, the rest of the class were able to follow except one. This student tried hard to move her body, legs and arms the way they should but to no avail. Soon after, the rest of the class was ganging up on her for not following the dance routine. Suffice to say, she had two left feet just like me. Finally, the choreographer decided to put her on the side doing her own movements that complemented the dance routine. She felt special since she had a unique dance.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence focuses on the ability of the person to effectively and efficiently use the body. Moreover, apart from being able to move in a particular way. People with this intelligence can also handle objects skillfully. Just think about dancers and actors who communicate through the movement of their bodies. Another group of people who have mastered using their bodies are athletes and martial arts experts. These people can utilize their bodies in amazing ways.
How to identify if your child exhibits bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
- If your child can follow dance moves and routines he or she may have this intelligence
- Your child is comfortable with body movements
- Expresses himself/herself through or with the use of body movements
- Exhibits body coordination when moving
- Has exemplary balance
- The child is comfortable using his or her body
How to help your child develop bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
- Encourage the child to follow simple body movements and progress to more complicated ones
- Follow the leader and Simon Says are great games to build this intelligence
- Let the child practice at his or own pace
- Break down complex movements into simpler ones so the child can follow
I’ve seen videos of people doing extraordinary movements from ballet to parkour. It’s truly amazing what these people can do. Now everyone is gifted with this talent and it is no shame to say that I can’t do those things. We should realize that uniqueness of everyone.
Around 2 months prior to writing this article, I had the privilege of giving a student his first lesson in playing the guitar. His enthusiasm was off the charts when he first held his guitar. He’s 8 years old and he showed great potential in playing this instrument. The first few lessons were difficult for him since he had difficulty placing his hands and fingers on the appropriate places. Fast forward to our last lesson around a week ago and I could see his improvement. Improvement is an understatement! He would listen to a song and play it on his guitar. Likewise, I asked him to replicate the chord progressions I played along with the proper strumming and he would play it effortlessly. This student is undoubtedly musically inclined. He would accompany his guitar with is angelic voice and you won’t even think that he’s a beginner. Sure, his finger positions, timings, and melody were sometimes off. However, when you consider that he just received less than 8 lessons and he can now reproduce songs he hears, then you’d know he is special.
Musical intelligence include rhythmic intelligence, harmonic awareness, ability to interpret tones and pitches. Likewise, a person can play or learn instruments with ease. Also, the person can write and arrange songs easily. A few individuals can even recall or repeat music that they’ve heard with great accuracy.
How to identify if your child has musical intelligence
- Your child can repeat songs with ease
- Your child can identify the similarities and differences in music and songs.
- Your child can follow beats and rhythm
- Your child can easily recognize songs
- Your child can hum songs
- Your child can play an instrument and/or sing with ease
How to help your child develop musical intelligence
- Allow the child to explore different genres of music
- Let your child express himself/herself through music
- Provide the child with toys and items that will build his or her music proficiency
Music is a useful way to express one’s self. But not everyone are talent to do this naturally. Although we have music classes at school, some struggle to understand the difference between pitch and tone. Likewise, among the domains of intelligence in the MI Theory, music intelligence if often regarded as a hobby and this is quite disheartening. I personally know several students who show this intelligence but fail to develop it.
Visual - Spatial Intelligence
I find it easier to look at a map and find my way instead of getting a verbal direction from a person. I suppose this is due to my poor linguistic intelligence. However, when it comes to Visual-spatial intelligence I am more confident. Orienteering is a skill that I find extremely useful especially when I go on camping trips. It also gives me an advantage when I played Counter Strike during my younger years.
Visual-spatial intelligence is more than just finding your way in a maze. Rather, it’s your ability to see a given space in a multitude of perspectives. Likewise, visual-spatial intelligence helps a person visualize objects from different angles. Furthermore, it allows people to see the relationships of parts.
How to identify if your child has visual-spatial intelligence
- Your child can accomplish puzzles that require fitting objects together
- Your child can easily find his way around places
- Your child can easily orient himself/herself in a given space or place
- Your child understand instructions better using a visual cue rather than verbal cues
How to help hour child develop visual-spatial intelligence
- Teach your child basic direction - front, back, left right, north, south, east, west, up down
- Provide games and toys that require the use of visual and spatial abilities like jigsaw puzzles
- Let your child draw or illustrate objects from different perspectives
- Hide and seek is a wonderful game to practice visual and spatial abilities
Understanding whether your child is visual-spatial learner is important. A great number of teachers fail to realize that some students learn better with the right visual material than a list of instructions. As such, people perceived some students as unintelligent because their thought process veers from the standards of another. As parents we need to know how best to present information to our child so that they can understand it better.
I am a fan of The Big Bang Theory - the T.V. series. Sheldon Cooper, one of the characters in the series is an intelligent and accomplished theoretical physicist. However, his personality needs extensive modifications. For example, he is tactless, he is unaware of social norms and is oblivious on how to behave in the presence of others. Furthermore, he is unable to navigate social norms and expectations. Although this provides the underlying comic element to the show, this is a reality that people face. In contrast, a person who has interpersonal intelligence are able to understand people’s emotions whether through visual cues or words used. Likewise, a person exhibiting this intelligence can easily interpret another person’s mood and is able to motivate or identify what motivates him or her. Furthermore, a person who has high interpersonal intelligence can easily coordinate tasks and work with people effectively and efficiently.
How to identify if your child has interpersonal intelligence
- Your child shows interpersonal intelligence when he shows empathy
- Your child is comfortable talking with people and people are comfortable with him/her
- Your child can easily understand how to talk to people
- Your child is listens well
- Your child conducts himself/herself in a manner that is appropriate for the occasion
How to help your child develop interpersonal intelligence
- Let your child social norms, expectations and how to conduct himself/herself properly
- Allow your child to sort through misunderstandings with friends and playmates
- Pretend play is a great way to teach how to behave around people in different situations
- Use dolls and action figures to demonstrate how one has to properly behave
- Create a dos and don’t list - accepted vs not accepted behavior
Children learn to communicate and relate with others early on in life. Their experiences allow them to create their own set of rules to follow. As such, we need to provide the right guidance so that they can improve their interpersonal intelligence.
Self-control is an important skill to possess. This skill can create productive environments and meaningful relationships. Moreover, our ability to understand ourselves is paramount to our personal growth. I’ve encountered people that have little intrapersonal intelligence that they seem deviant and crass. On the other hand, there are people who are pleasant and with great self-control. At the risk of being overly simplistic, intrapersonal intelligence is ability to control one's thoughts and emotions thus controlling one’s actions. Likewise, this intelligence focus on one’s self-awareness - strengths, weaknesses, desires, motivations, aversions etc.
How to identify if your child has intrapersonal intelligence
- Your child is able to verbalize emotions and feelings without difficulty
- Your child knows his/her limits
- Your child clearly understands his/her likes and dislikes
- Your child is able to process his/her emotions
- Your child plans to achieve what he/she wants
How to help your child develop intrapersonal intelligence
- Allow your child to express his/her emotions
- Guide the child in processing his emotions
- Play “what if” so that you can provide a scenario and your child can share his/her action plans
- Allow your child to have some alone time to discover his/her wants, needs, motivations, fears, etc.
For millennia, great minds have asked “Who am I?” We still have not found a consensus. However, there are individuals who have a keen sense of who they are. They have enough knowledge about themselves that helps them in their daily lives.
There are people who have a keen awareness of their natural surroundings. They are sensitive to the needs of the environment. With just one look, they seem to know if their garden needs more water or not. They can easily diagnose what’s happening to their plants and trees. Moreover, they have an attachment to the animals around them. Furthermore, people with naturalistic intelligence seem to communicate well with nature.
How to identify if your child has naturalistic intelligence
- Your child is comfortable in the outdoors - camping, hiking or just being in nature
- Your child pays close attention to what the environment needs
- Your child likes to take care of plants and animals
- Your child understands how humans activities can affect nature
- Your child appreciates nature
How to help develop naturalistic intelligence in your child
- Expose your child to experiences involving nature
- Give your child a pet or plant
- Give your child chores involving pets, plants or taking care of the surroundings
- Let your child help you out in the garden
- Visit zoos and botanical gardens
- Let your child attend summer camping activities
In recent times, we need more people with a keen awareness of our environment. We need more stewards of nature and these individuals with naturalistic intelligence can help us out.
Individuals who exhibit this intelligence often take the time to ponder on questions about humanity. For example, they tend to think about questions about the meaning of life, the purpose of existence, life and death and so on. Likewise, they try to unravel abstract concepts such as peace and freedom. Some of the greatest philological thinkers have delved into questions that often people take for granted.
How to identify if your child exhibits existential intelligence
- Your child asks questions about the purpose of things around him/her
- Your child likes to think about concepts and try to unravel mysteries
- Your child usually has numerous questions in mind
- Your child does not shy away from discussions about abstract topics
How to help your child develop existential intelligence
- Talk to your child about life and the things around him/her
- Allow your child to express his/her ideas regarding complex topics
- Encourage your child to ask and answer questions about his existence
- Talk about works of philosophers who also tried to answer the same questions
Everyone has his or her own intelligence. As parents, we must break free from the narrow-minded view of intelligence. Moreover, we should understand that these types of intelligence exist in our children in varying degrees. One child may exhibit one specific intelligence while another may show several. What is important is that we recognize what our children have and then strengthen them while developing others. Understanding the Multiple Intelligences Theory allows us, parents, to truly recognize our child’s capabilities.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 JP Carlos