By far, the biggest thing you can do to your baby’s intelligence is to be present, be attentive, keep them fed, and be loving. Neglect is, statistically speaking, the biggest impedance to a child’s upbringing.
In fact, an Australian study of almost 3800 14-year-olds, found that of the 7.9% who had either been abused or simply neglected, as children, their recorded IQ scores were around 3 points lower than their non-maltreated peers.
But, since you are reading this, we are pretty confident you have already got all those points covered. If you want to turbocharge your child’s development, then here are some things you should get into the habit of doing with your little angel.
- Read books to them — No child is too young to be read to. By reinforcing the act of reading with cuddling and spending quality time with mum or dad, will build a lifetime of a love of reading. “Learning is earning”, as they say.
- Cuddles, and plenty of them — Babies, albeit wonderful little things, are, by their very nature fragile. For this reason, a baby that feels safe and warm will be a smarter one. If they feel unsafe their brains may go into “survival mode”.
- Talk and sing to them, as much as you can — Anything will do. Lullabies, your favorite pop songs, poems, or rhyming couplets, and just generally communicate to them. The more words they are exposed to at a younger age, the potential for developing a higher IQ. This is scientifically proven!
- When you do talk, trust your instincts — Parents instinctively tend to talk to infants in a different tone of voice to adults. This is not a coincidence. According to studies, this tone helps make vowel sounds more distinct and easier to imitate for young children.
- Point at stuff — Children will learn to associate words with everyday things if you point them out.
- Limit TV time — This is an obvious one. Most experts recommend no screen time before for the first 18-months. More if you can.
- Breastfeeding is best — While not completely agreed upon, there appears to be a positive correlation between breastfeeding and a child’s mental development.
For best results, breastfeed at least for the first 6 months, and longer if you can.
- Make them choose — Amazingly, even very young children have opinions on things. Have them choose between books or toys, this will help build these circuits in their brain.
- Get them out and about — Taking your little darlings outside regularly will expose them to many new interesting stimuli. This will help grow their experience of the world around them.
- Introduce a new language early on — Babies and young children and built to learn languages as naturally as a duck takes to water. By introducing a new language you will encourage something called “parallel thinking” that will massively boost your child’s mental development.
- Encourage them (but not too much) — Praise successes, never shame them for mistakes and instill a growth mindset. If you can nurture a focus on process rather than getting things right, you will set your child up for a very successful life.