Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

How to Raise an Erudite Child: TOWER Plan

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

Show me a parent who doesn’t want his/her kids to be intelligent and smart.

When my first child, Jessica, was born, I wasn’t proactive. I was simply at a loss with all the work and errands I had to do. That was quite new for me and, frankly speaking, I wasn’t prepared enough. Young and ambitious, I thought mostly about my career and my own benefits in life.

It took me 2 years to realize that I wasn’t the center of the universe, instead – my daughter was for me. And then I created a plan. I had been thinking about it for a long time, before I actually put it into action.

Now, I call it a TOWER plan:

T – Talking

O – Order

W – Wising up

E – Encouragement

R – Reading


Talking (smart)

Communication is the first source of information. That is why, even talking to your kid about the common situations of everyday life can be essential in upbringing an erudite.

Smart talking as a tactic wasn’t actually my idea. I saw it in action by a good friend of mine Joseph Green, PhD in Economics and chief researcher of Essay Today Science Group. He simply did one thing – asked his child open-ended questions similar to “What could happen if we bought a ship?” and then coming close to vital philosophical questions like “What could happen if people run out of water?” Such questions are useful for reflections. A child reflects on what s/he knows and can express opinions and thoughts.

And for those who think that a child is too young to understand – don’t worry, you’re never too young or old to perceive information. Similarly, don't be afraid to include sophisticated words into your vocabulary. A child may not understand, but s/he will figure it out, if you use the words multiple times in the context.

Joseph says it’s his top priority to communicate with his son. They actually talk tools, he says. While working in his garage, he shows his son how drill works, how to use a hammer or a measuring tape and many more objects.

The results are indeed impressive.


There should be order in everything – playing, sleeping, eating, etc. That’s a rule that should be kept without even a slightest hint of a doubt.

First, limit your child’s time for social media and TV watching. Second, help your child plan the daily activity. Third, write down the program for each evening. That sounds absurd at times, but a written to-do list is just for several days, after which a child will do them automatically without writing down.

Take it slow – you do realize that habits are not acquired quickly. Be realistic and create a reasonable schedule.

Wising up

The book by Charles Phillips “Stay Smart: 100 Exercises to Keep Your Brain Sharp” changed my family. In a good way, of course.

I got it as a present from my grandpa who is obsessed with Math. He’s 82 now and he still does math tasks every evening! He acknowledges that it’s Math that made him so smart. And I just listened to him and did what I should – I started training my brain and later taught my kids to do the same.

While choosing the toys and games, pick those that exercise your child’s logic and imagination. Or you may choose those that teach your child some skills.

For me, the most helpful tools for wising up are puzzles.



Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology and a member of the Stanford University research team, proved that a mind-set influences behavior. When it comes to parenting, Carol suggests praising instead of labeling. It’s not enough just to tell your kid that s/he is smart, or talented, or intelligent.

The same with grades. We should keep in mind that a grade isn’t what virtually motivates a child to succeed. It’s his/her inner need and desire for learning.

Praise your child’s efforts, not his/her inborn wittiness. Kids who get praised for their smartness tend to complete easier tasks. In fact, they avoid challenges. Your child needs a challenge, and therefore, s/he can experience failures that make him/her stronger.


Read, read, read. That concerns two aspects: when you read to your child and when your child reads alone.

It can’t be too early to start reading to your child. I’m an avid reader and a bookworm and it was rather an excitement and a tremendously pleasant process for me to read to my kids. I read books aloud, when I was pregnant and later, when they were born, I read even more.

It helps kids notice the language rhythms and vocabulary. More than that, starting from Day One influences your kids emotionally.

Then, there comes a time, when it’s merely obligatory for your kid to read alone. To ignite passion and interest, create a library, become a resource for book ideas. Finding a book is indeed a challenge for 57% of children, the research says.

When I only started buying books for my kids, I didn’t have any place for them and they were just lying on the table. Now, I have a huge library that includes 2 sections: for my kids and for me.

And now I’m so happy to see interest and desire with which my kids are learning important things from books.

What tips and tricks do you use? Are they helpful?

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.