We all want our little one to be the smarty pants in class and to ace all their tests but, did you know there are things you can do to boost your child’s IQ? Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, is a measurement of human intelligence given in the form of a score or number via several standardized tests. Here’s the lowdown on how you can boost your little one’s IQ.
Music & Rhythm
Active involvement with music over passive listening is what matters and makes the difference. Sing to your child, play or listen to live music and even add instruments into the mix. Learning to play a musical instrument is a great brain activity that boosts IQ levels directly by improving the mathematical and spatial reasoning skills. It has been scientifically proven with MRI scans that playing an instrument boosts brain functioning. Take time out each week and let your child learn an instrument like guitar, mini-keyboard, a drum or a tab; the list is infinite and, you can take a cue from your little boy or girl’s interests. In one study, people who played musical instruments as children showed more robust brainstem responses to sound than non-musicians did. Other studies have reported that little ones who were assigned to receive musical training developed distinctive neural responses to music and speech, evidence of more intense information processing became apparent, with improvements in the discrimination of pitch and the segmentation of speech. Children who study music tend to perform better academically. They serve to have enhanced verbal and mathematical skills and, they perform better on tests of working memory and cognitive flexibility.
High EQ is linked to higher IQs. Children with higher levels of emotional intelligence perform better on standardized tests. They also tend to have higher grades. Emotional intelligence skills help kids manage conflict and develop deeper friendships. Adults with high levels of emotional intelligence also report better relationships in their personal and professional lives. Children who were able to share, cooperate, and follow directions at age 5 were more likely to obtain college degrees and to begin working full-time jobs by age 25. Individuals with higher levels of emotional intelligence are less likely to experience depression and other mental illnesses. It is essential to develop your little one’s EQ from a young age, here are some ways you can do so:
- Label Your Child’s Emotions – Kids need to know how to recognize how they’re feeling. You can help your child by putting a name to those emotions.
- Show Empathy – When your child is upset, especially when their emotions seem a bit on the dramatic side, it can be tempting to minimize how they’re feeling. But dismissive comments will teach your child that the way they’re feeling is wrong. A better approach is to validate their feelings and show empathy, even if you don’t understand why they’re so upset.
- Model Appropriate Ways to Express Feelings – Kids need to know how to express their emotions in a socially appropriate way. So, while saying, “My feelings are hurt,” or drawing a picture of a sad face could be helpful, screaming and throwing things aren’t OK.
- Teach Healthy Coping Skills – A colouring book, a favourite joke book, soothing music, and lotions that smell good are a few items that can help engage their senses and calm their emotions.
- Develop Problem-Solving Skills – Part of building emotional intelligence involves learning how to solve problems. When your child makes mistakes, work through what could have been done differently and what your child can do to resolve any lingering issues.
Certain nutrients are especially helpful to the developing brain and its functions during childhood. The foods that serve these nutrients in appreciable levels are called “brain foods.” For example, breast milk is brain food for babies, and so is infant formula, as it is formulated to match breast milk as closely as possible. It is rich in fat and supplies many nutrients, such as protein, iron and DHA, required for brain development.
Fatty fish, like salmon, is another example of brain food, as it is a source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega 3 improves brain function in children, and the earlier they start consuming it, the better. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, help deliver oxygen to the brain, enhance blood flow, slow ageing and may impact brain size. For kids, this may translate to better focus and improved reading skills in the classroom, and for younger children, improved learning ability and impulse control.
Other nutrient-dense foods for the brain include:
- Olives and olive oil
- Nuts and nut butter
Socialization is an important part of your child’s development overall — with social milestones helping your child to manage personal feelings, understand others’ feelings and needs, and interact respectfully and acceptably. Here are a number of ways you can help your little one socialize:
- Arrive early to social activities – Showing up to a new situation or environment early allows a shy child to get acclimated, as well as feel as if the newcomers are joining them.
- Encourage neighbourhood play – By taking walks to playgrounds, letting your kids play in the yard often, and saying hi to your neighbours. Research says kids with proximity friendships create more opportunities to socialize more frequently, explore, and play freely.
- Encourage your shy child to speak first – With a planned statement, when in public. Speaking first or early is easier than waiting for your turn.
- Normalize sharing – Structured scenarios can help kids grow comfortable with sharing and help them see there’s no need to be selfish.
Sleep deprivation will negatively impact your little one’s cognitive performance. Getting less sleep than the recommended amount a child should be sleeping can cause an apparent IQ loss of five to eight points the next day. Your little one needs to get a good amount of sleep, here are some ways you can help:
- Set up a bedtime routine
- Relax before bedtime
- Keep regular sleep and wake times
- Keep older children’s naps early and short
- Make sure your child feels safe at night
- Check noise and light in your child’s bedroom
- Avoid the clock
- Eat the right amount at the right time
- Get plenty of natural light in the day
- Avoid caffeinated drinks