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Recent studies reveals that early childhood years play a vital role in personality development, establishing that right kind of parenting can help raise intelligent as well as outgoing kids.

This set of studies was carried out by researchers in South Africa and Pakistan and was funded by the Government of Canada. This pair of studies has helped the scientists delve into the factors that help determine the personality traits in children and how modifying these factors can help raise smarter kids.

Higher IQ is Intricately Linked with Feeding Regime and Pre-Schooling

One of these studies included more than 1500 South African children. It was led by Dr. Ruth M. Bland of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow.

This study helped highlight the fact that children who were exclusively breastfed for the stipulated time period of 6 months were 50 times less likely to develop behavioral disorders between the ages of 7 and 11 as compared to the children who were breastfed for less than one month.

This study also demonstrated that mothers’ education level plays a crucial role in determining the behavior of a child.

Another important determinant is pre-schooling.

Children who attend the pre-school (crèche) for at least 1 year were 74% more likely to have better and enhanced cognitive and functional capabilities with stronger planning, focusing, memorizing and multitasking skills.

During the course of this study, it was found out that providing the children with adequate stimuli at home in the form of play, caused them to have 36% better executive functional scores. Right parenting played a major role in a child’s behavioral development.

Children of the mothers facing emotional and mental stress were shown to be 2.5 times as likely to suffer from behavioral problems as compared to other children.

According to the researchers, early-onset childhood behavioral problems can continue into the adolescent years. These problems can escalate into low self-esteem which can further lead to anti-social behavior, especially violence. Low academic performance and meager psychological health ensue, emphasizing that through adequate nutrition, better pre-schooling and mothers’ education, smarter and socially affable kids can be raised.

Play and Communication Work Wonders for Underprivileged Children in Rural Areas

The second study was headed by Dr. Aisha K. Yousafzai of Aga Khan University, Karachi with the idea being taken from UNICEF and the World Health Organization's 'Care for Child Development' plan. The basic aim of the study was to observe the effects of nutritive care and guided stimulation on the children’s cognitive and affective capabilities.

This follow-up study was carried out on 1,302 underprivileged rural kids at the average age of four years. The parents, especially mothers, of these children were guided about the concept of guided stimulation (through play and communication using everyday items like toys) and better nutrition during the early life years.

It was observed that children at the age of four were more likely to have higher intelligence quotient (IQ), improved academic performance, enhanced executive skills and more gregarious behavior through guided stimulation and better nutrition.

This study established that parents are better caregivers than any other person socially involved in the upbringing of children. Enhanced nutritive care and responsive stimulation by the parents can, therefore, result in better outcomes in terms of social and behavioral traits.

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