My husband and I can both be considered Type A’s. He’s more competitive whereas I’m more of a perfectionist. We were particularly thrilled when we heard our 2-year-old singing the Pokémon theme song, which starts with, “I wanna be the best there ever was!”
When our firstborn, who is now 4 years old was born, we even created a document that listed down all the skills we wanted her to learn and ranked them in order of priority. If there was an intelligence test that babies could take, we probably would have let her take it!
All of us parents just want our children to succeed and be happy.
Regardless of parenting style, all of us parents just want our children to succeed and be happy. That is the main driver behind many of our parenting decisions such as what to feed them, how to discipline them and what skills we want them to develop.
Before we can make these decisions, it is equally important to acknowledge that each child has unique strengths and interests. What may be the best approach for a strong-willed child will not necessarily work on a soft-spoken introvert. Taking it further, our definition of success may be very different from what our children want for themselves.
Plus, at the rate our world is changing, who knows what kinds of jobs will be available in the future? Even traditional professions in law, accountancy and medicine are most likely to evolve. The skills that are rewarded in schools today may not anymore cut it by the time our children graduate.
An interdisciplinary approach: The best way to prepare now for an unknown future
Over the decades, there have been many attempts to determine the key metric that will predict whether an individual will become successful. Traditionally, literacy and intelligence were the key players, which is why our schools are disproportionately skewed towards these areas. Recently, new buzzwords have been proposed such as grit and growth mindset – an individual’s ability to soldier on and learn despite failures.
Instead of choosing one while discounting the others, one theory solves the puzzle using a more holistic perspective. American developmental psychologist and Harvard professor Howard Gardner developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He explains that intelligence is not limited to reading or writing or logical problem solving. Thus, just getting A's on these areas should not be our only focus. Rather, an interdisciplinary approach is becoming increasingly important.
Based on research, his theory was able to identify 8 different areas or types of smarts. Identifying an individual's strengths and opportunities early on sets the stage for raising a well-rounded person.
The eight different kinds of smarts
LOGIC SMART (Logical-Mathematical) Ability to think of cause and effect connections, and to understand relationships of actions, objects or ideas.
This is what most of us automatically think about when we hear the word “smart.” Individuals who can keenly observe cause and effect or the relationship of different ideas are actually logic smart. This also involves solving math problems like “How many cookies will I have left if I give two away?”
WORD SMART (Linguistic) Ability to think in words and to use language to express and understand complex meanings.
Word smart children express ideas clearly and comprehend what others are trying to communicate. A good vocabulary and correct grammar are signs that a child has grasped how language works. Bookworms or children who love stories are also considered word smart.
PICTURE SMART (Spatial) Ability to think in pictures and to perceive the visual world accurately.
Children who easily re-create pictures or engage in imaginative play are picture smart. They can turn an empty box into a house or even a rocket ship! Picture smart also refers to children who are good with colors and arranging objects within a space.
NATURE SMART (Naturalist) Ability to understand the natural world, including plants, animals and scientific studies.
Nature lovers enjoy being outdoors or learning about different types of animals. If your child has been asking for a pet or loves visiting parks, she may be nature smart. He may even have a green thumb when it comes to gardening.
MUSIC SMART (Musical) Ability to think in sounds, rhythms, melodies and rhymes.
Children who quickly learn new rhymes and melodies are music smart. Making up their own songs or playing instruments well are other ways they express this strength.
BODY SMART (Kinesthetic) Ability to think in movement and to use the body in skilled and meaningful ways for expressive and goal-directed activities.
Body smart children probably learned to walk at an early age. They seem more coordinated than same-age peers, and move with ease and natural grace. These children excel in sports and probably have good fine motor skills as well.
PEOPLE SMART (Interpersonal) Ability to think about and understand others.
People smart is where social skills come in. These children are able to empathise with and motivate others. Being sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others, they make friends easily and keep them too.
SELF SMART (Intrapersonal) Ability to think about and understand oneself.
Self-aware children are able to examine their emotions and regulate them when necessary. Having clear goals and working hard to accomplish them despite setbacks are signs of being self smart. These children are described as mature or even wise for their age.
Assess your child using the MIDASTM tool. Find out how in the next page.
A unique intelligence test based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Professionals always begin their work with some sort of assessment. Doctors diagnose, engineers survey and teachers conduct pre-tests. The same should be true for parenting - the profession of raising children. Taking the time to understand our children is also the first step when it comes to our work as parents.
A tool called the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDASTM) was developed to help confirm our initial thoughts and observations about the types of smarts our children possess. The abridged version of this unique intelligence test takes just 3-5 minutes to complete - and, it is online! The KidSmart Programme is exclusively designed by UOB to help parents discover and plan for their child’s true potential.
It was easy enough for my 6-year-old niece to answer verbally and my 8-year-old nephew to complete on his own (with some guidance on the definition of some words like “reluctance”). For my 4-year-old, I answered it for her but I was also curious as to what her answers would be so I simplified some of the questions and asked her what she thought. It was very interesting to hear how she rated herself. The results are immediately available and can be sent to one’s email.
The full version of the test takes about 25 minutes to complete but provides more information and breaks down the different smarts into more actionable categories. For example, Minoli, a mum of an 8-year-old, discovered that her child has strong interpersonal skills (People Smart).
However, her daughter scored high on the dexterity area (fine motor skills) of being Body Smart but low on physicality (gross motor skills). The abridged version will only reveal a moderate score in the kinesthetic area. This detailed version is usually $90 but is FREE through UOB's personal bankers - after taking the shorter version, just visit a UOB branch to arrange a meeting and obtain access to the full version.
What you do today will impact your child’s tomorrow.
Of course, the assessment is just the beginning. Afterwards, it can be used to make better decisions such as the kinds of enrichment activities to start/stop and even the field that your child will most likely enjoy and excel in. The little things you do today will impact your child's tomorrow. This is the thinking behind UOB's KidSmart Programme - a first-of-its-kind approach that enables parents to create a personalized plan for their children's future based on a thorough and well-rounded evaluation.
Because it considers each child’s personal strengths and interests from a holistic point of view, you can feel more confident about leading your children to be the very best that they can be.