Nine Steps to Improve Your Child's IQ

Home & Family
on February 10, 2002

Most parents will do whatever they can to help their children succeed in school and in life. But that doesnt have to mean buying expensive, educational toys and computer equipment. These nine simple ways can help parents boost their childrens IQ scores:

Just be there. In the early part of life, bonding between children and their parents is vital, says Dr. Gail Gross, a child development authority, author, and former teacher. What we have to do is nurture our children and be reliable. If they trust you, theyll trust themselves, she says. If they trust themselves, theyll trust the outer world. That opens the world to all kinds of opportunities.

Talk to your baby. New parents may wonder what to say to an infant; it can be as simple as explaining what youre doing as you dress or bathe him. The baby isnt doing much but smiling and looking interested, but theyre getting a sense of sequence, says Dr. Lorraine McCune, director of the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. Its a part of later intelligence. Use simple, short phrases, but not baby talk, to build vocabulary.

Turn off the television. Television is just information put at you, Gross says. Its hypnotic. Children who watch too much TV become depressed.

Create a safe, secure environment for learning. Give children freedom to explore without fear of injury. Child-sized seats and tables give them control and security. Colorful crates or child-sized shelves for toys help the mind develop in an orderly way.

Lets pretend. Pretend play ties into intellectual development, McCune says, especially between ages 1 and 3. It helps children remember events they see in their world and imagine how theyd like things to happen. Doll houses, toy vehicles, play food, and dress-up clothes are great aids.

Read. Reading to your child regularly can boost his academic success. It helps his language skills and gives you both a special closeness. Start soon after your baby is born with simple picture books.

Enjoy the arts. A UCLA study of more than 25,000 students found that participation in art, music, dance, and drama increases success in virtually every area of academicsespecially for children in low-income areas.

Break out the games. Games can help with math, spelling, memorization, and important skills such as sportsmanship and strategy. Board games are still sort of a well-kept secret, McCune says. Its something for parents and children to do thats not TV. Theyre talking, sitting around a table together, and topics come up.

Get a pet. A Kansas State University study found that adding a pet to a happy, stable home can improve both a childs IQ and his social development. The more the child interacts with the pet, the bigger the impact on his life.

Found in: Home & Family