It’s important to help our children end their academic year well. We want them to go into the summer believing they are smart in many ways and can be successful in life and in school. This not only makes for a more pleasant beginning to our summer, but more optimism when the next year begins.

We can help our children remember to study with all eight parts of the brain. For instance, if they are learning vocabulary words, they can use more than the natural word smart. They can ask questions about the words to use logic smart, draw definitions to use picture smart, put the word or its definition to a rhythm or melody to use music smart, act out the definition to activate body smart, look for patterns among the words to see how they are similar and different to use nature smart, talk with classmates or family members about the words and how to use them for people smart, and reflect on their opinions of the words to use self smart.

If your children don’t believe in themselves, look for every opportunity to point out to them how well they are doing. Be specific. Let them overhear you tell others they are improving and doing well.

There are times when teaching to improve challenges and sharing your concerns about their weaknesses is essential. These conversations are always easier to take and more helpful when we don’t deny their strengths.

Remember that the word “smart” is a power word so using the word when we can is wise. “Smart” is much more informative and beneficial than “good” or “well done.” And, it can be used for much more than academics.

“Excellent job! You made a smart decision.”

“You just chose wisely. It didn’t take you long and you considered that your brother would be playing, too. Smart choice!”

“Because you are people smart, you did a fabulous job paying attention to how your friends were feeling at your party. I’m proud of you.”

“You cleaned up the mess. Wow!”

“Right. I was just thinking about how I’d feel if I came in the room and saw this. Before I knew it, I was cleaning it up!”

“It’s because you’re self smart that you were thinking like that. It helps you be obedient and I’m grateful.” 

“Your paper is exceptional. Really well done! You used your word-smart abilities to explain well. You used rich adjectives because you’re picture smart and you wanted to see what you were describing. Your people-smart strengths allowed you to think about your audience and write about what they would find more interesting. I’ve been telling you you’re smart and you just proved it again.”

When we tell children they are smart and not just good, our words have much more power. Use this smart power well. Now.