Saturday, 28 June 2014

Boosting Your Child's IQ

We all know that a lot of the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of a child is predetermined by things like genes, pregnancy, breast feeding, exposure to toxins, complications in pregnancy etc. The good news is you can actually do something right now to enhance your child's intellectual capacity, and can continue to do so till they are well into their teens. Even then the human brain is like a big muscle that can be trained into better shape and working. Here are some simple tips you can implement right now this very moment that can improve your child's IQ.

1. Nurturing Relationship:
From the beginning young children are extremely sensitive to your voice, your touch and your moods. Engaging the child in a soothing tone of voice and establishing good eye contact when talking help in the development of your child's brain since that is their primary source of information. Just talking even if your child does not fully understand, allowing them to ask questions, discussing everyday mundane things or even current affairs (age appropriate) makes for a great way to boost self-confidence and this ultimately boosts IQ.

2. Reading to your Child:
This one gets a category all of it's very own. Most people are already aware of the benefits of reading to their child. Not only do kids get better at reading, build a nice vocabulary, get tonnes of new information, but the bonding that comes along with it also contributes to healthier minds. I find my kids hanging on to my every word whenever I tell them a story. They don't mind a repeated story, in fact they love it.

3. Adequate Diet:
Some food are scientifically proven to help kids retain information for longer and improve memory, which is an important skill set in itself. Below are a few foods to help achieve this. My son even ate soaked almonds every morning before exam time, seven to be exact. He found it helped him.

4. Brain Exercise:
Playing strategic games like chess, scrabble, word jumbles, crossword puzzles, cryptograms and brain teasers, all help boost IQ. Encourage your child to indulge in these activities everyday even if it means for just 10 minutes. I remember my own father encouraging us to solve the daily crossword, solve the 'word power' section in Reader's Digest. Later we even had a subscription to Newsweek and Time Magazine which was appropriately screened for inappropriate matter before hand.

5. Physical Exercise:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy....pretty much a true statement when it comes to young kids that have to much pent up energy, that a safe physical outlet is imperative to a healthy mind. Any one of your mothers out there can relate to that. I know it's tough in this hot weather, but the late evenings become relatively better for the kids to have a good run outside.

6. Aluminum and Salt:
During my research, I found out that high aluminum content found in some parts of the world contribute to deteriorating mental capacity. Now even though in UAE this is not an issue, prolonged excessive use of aluminum foil maybe counterproductive for your child's mental health in the long term. As for short term, it is a fact that a low sodium diet not only keeps you and your family healthy physically, but also mentally.

7. Adequate Sleep:
Ah bed-time, sometimes the best part of my day....but seriously, a good healthy amount of sleep for the children, at least a good 8-10 hours worth helps the mind to relax, delete irrelevant information, process and retain the relevant stuff and categorize it all. It makes sense of experiences and enables the child to relate to that particular event in case of a similar case later on in life. It's just amazing. But kids need to sleep. Even in the day time, stress free kids are able to do more learning and less of just hanging around.

8. Exposure to Different Experiences:
Obviously a child that is exposed to different situations learns more. Refer to my Summer Time Activity post of last week (click here) to see the different types of activities your child can engage in. Also make use of trips to the doctor's or library or even the mall to give your child a panorama of views.

 9. Lavish Praise: Good? Not really. Studies show that kids who are over appreciated  on every little mundane task, even if they don't do it well at all, will develop over confidence that will essentially set them up for disappointments and prevent them from achieving their fullest potential. So give praise but give it honestly, give it where is id due but do not confuse this with a lack of support. 

Although a child's brain is almost 90% formed by the age of four, as you can see it is not as if it stops growing. It is constantly restructuring, organizing and adjusting as we age. The key is not to fixate, but to gently prompt and show love and empathy while doing it. Remember kids need continuous revision, continuous repetition. And make it fun.

Here are a few interesting site you should check out: