The 4 Corners of Intelligence Your Child Needs to Thrive In Life

Identifying the four types of intelligence our child needs and why each of them is so critical for our child’s developmental needs.

What is intelligence? When we talk about a child’s intellectual ability, the intelligence quotient (IQ) is the first thing that comes to mind. The word “quotient” here means that we measure something. In this case, their intellect reflects the current stock of knowledge or be a gauge of potential. 

The intelligence that most parents are familiar with is what we know as cognitive intelligence. The ones usually associated with thinking, academic results and the likes. Now, what does this mean when it comes to the developmental needs of our child? 

Suppose you have a garden that is segmented into four areas. You tell yourself you have a limited time to take care of this entire garden, and you should approach it intelligently. After looking at it, you then determine that only one area is fit for planting because it receives optimum sunshine and great for viewing pleasure. 

You then proceed to care for it and providing necessary nutrients as and when needed. However, you began to notice the other three areas are overgrown with weed, and the next thing you know, it spills over and takes over your beautiful space. 

Just like that garden, intelligence transcends beyond just scoring As on tests and examinations. While those are an excellent example of development milestones, it’s only one of the many. Our child needs all four corners of intelligence (cognitive, emotional, social and physical) to meet all their developmental needs.

Let’s take a closer look at these 4 bits of intelligence and why each of them is so critical for our child’s developmental needs.  

Put Your Thinking Hat On

According to, cognitive intelligence is the ability to plan, reason, and use logical deduction to solve problems and the capability to apply abstract thinking while learning from and responding to their surroundings. 

A good foundation or education system can grow the right mindset and increase their cognitive intelligence. But how do we prepare the child with all the different systems out there? The key is to look out for institutions that help provide the stock of knowledge and skill required to acquire any curriculum in their future learning career. 

Apart from that, it’s important that we also remember that education also goes beyond school — it also includes home and places they spent a significant amount at. As parents, we can help improve their cognitive intelligence by inculcating a growth mindset in our child. By helping them develop this future-proof skill, we’re helping them thrive to be a creator, and get excited about learning new things. 

That Gut Feeling

Have you ever experienced a situation where your hair stands on end, and you feel sick to your stomach? Or had a bad feeling about someone even when you can’t put your finger as to why? 

In situations like these, your emotional intelligence takes control. 

Emotional intelligence is not just a person’s ability to express emotion but also the ability to perceive them in others. We are not born with mature emotional intelligence, but it is critical to our safety, well-being and guides us through unchartered waters.

Our child’s emotional intelligence grows from emotional awareness and emotional management. 

They will become a little wiser from all that they go through. It is through experiences that they learn to accumulate the wisdom for future similar situations in life. 

Helping them navigate through their emotions and expanding their vocabulary to label them allows them to become better in their day-to-day emotional management. They will grow their inner resources and belief to become confident and resilient. 

Without emotional intelligence, their social intelligence will be compromised, which leads us to our next point.

All About Social Wellbeing

Social intelligence and emotional intelligence are critical to our child’s ability to thrive and optimise any other potential. While social and emotional intelligence barometers are pretty similar, they are distinct from each other. 

Our emotional reaction to a situation or someone may be instinctive, but our social intelligence makes the difference between our reaction and action. Sometimes our child may have strong views on how things should be, and they react in the form of what we know as getting upset or throwing tantrums. 

Our emotional intelligence is expressed through our actions. Our social intelligence measures the expression of our emotional intelligence. While we cannot fully control how we feel, we can choose how we respond to a situation. 

Humans are social creatures, and being socially intelligent will equip our children to express themselves better and work with others to see their viewpoints. The different interactions and experiences will allow our child to learn and grow their social intelligence to navigate life.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Health is holistic, and you can’t grow a healthy mind without a healthy body. After all, the greatest treasure of our life is physical health.

Physical intelligence should not be taken for granted. The mastery of our physical intelligence is integral to the maximisation of the other three areas of intelligence. Our physical health can be determined by two simple things that are perfectly within our control: what we put into our body and what we do with it. 

Our body is brilliant. It self-regulates through our circadian rhythm, it self-heals, and its cells regenerate. Our body is a fantastic self-sustaining organism — if we take care of it. Thus, we must guide our children through these two principles to help their body functioning well. 

Physical intelligence will help them have a healthy body image, know which to tap into when they’re unwell, and tap into an essential tool (exercise) to give them the mental capacity to make quality decisions and uplift their mood.

Neurologically, physical activity and nutritious food are linked to improved memory, reflexes and emotion management.

Tending to Your Child’s Garden

Now that we see how these four corners of intelligence overlap and is crucial to our child’s developmental needs, we must help them build a good foundation in their education to raise their intelligence in these four areas.

Education is not only limited to school, but it’s also home, and anywhere else they spent a significant amount of time. When they’re equipped with multiple life skills, tools, and opportunities to grow, their learning approach and interest are more engaged or sustained. We are also improving their learning potential in the long run.

Similar to a garden, our child needs some tender loving care. With occasional nutrient boosts here and there and a good amount of support, they would be able to grow up beautifully. 

Gifted Kids Asia is passionate about nurturing gifted kids through invested parenting. If you’re keen to learn more about how to optimise your child’s intelligence and potential, you can check out the carefully crafted programs and courses we have in store.


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