– As the parent, you are one the most determining factors of your child’s IQ
The new parent syndrome.
You have bookmarked hundreds of websites relating to pregnancy, baby & mama well-being, baby nutrition and of course, education.
You feel bombarded with the overflowing, and sometimes contradictory, information on almost everything; from how to calm down a crying baby, to how to make the baby sleep through the night or even how to reduce the scary stretch marks.
You are excited and at the same time a little overwhelmed with the responsibilities of this new role and not sure what you should do to make sure your child will have a great life in the future.
At times, in your daydreams, you may picture your child graduating at the best university you can imagine, carrying all the prides. For whatever profession they choose, you just want your child to have a future so bright that far exceeds your own life’s achievement. Or your daydream may wander to a shorter term euphoria where your child is being accepted by your dream kindergarten / primary school. You just couldn’t be happier even with a brief thought of that.
As you dig deeper into the topic, your head may be pounding with headaches about the ruthless competition for the “best” schools. Your eyes are wide open with the ridiculous rumours or advice on how to build your child’s portfolio to earn the school acceptance and the vast skills and knowledge required to nail the school interviews.
Like many other serious and competitive parents, you couldn’t help but wonder: “What on earth should I do now to make my child stand out from all these competitions?”
There are mums who choose to live in the moment and want to deal with the imminent issues first, for example, making sure they produce sufficient milk for breastfeeding or the input and output of the baby is well balanced.
But if you are one of those parents who couldn’t help but think a lot, like me, I bet you must have wished your child is “smart”. Apart from feeling good to have your smart gene passed down to the next generation, we all know that smart children learn faster and commonly give better responses. Nowadays, children are being assessed at a very young age. Those who are smarter possess a huge advantage as their language ability is generally more advanced and their skill and knowledge base are wider. These are the exact qualities most schools look for. It is definitely not a fair game for mediocre children as they only have a short few years to catch up.
Personally, I always prefer to take matters into my own hands. Simply wishing them smart wasn’t good enough.
At my time as a new mum, the Baby Einstein products and the massive home learning packages have just emerged from the market. At the already packed baby exhibitions, we were pulled into one after another booth where the salespersons fought hard to get us buy their products. Flash cards, DVD sets, packages consisting of books, DVDs and learning cards and different kinds of educational toy sets were among some of them.
I was really confused and yet I didn’t want to fail my child by inaction, so I bought quite a few of the learning and educational toy sets with outrageous money. I listened to classical music religiously, as it was widely believed back then that the “Mozart Effect” will make the baby smarter.
But deep down my gut, I was not sure what would benefit my child. I just felt a strong urge to do something. I might question the common phase “win at the starting line”, however, I didn’t want my child to lose right from the start either. I was clearly driven by fear and uncertainty, just as many others out there.
After using all types of the so-called educational products for years, I conclude that most of the ‘expensive’ products remotely worth a fraction of their price tag. At the end of the day, what matters is how much work we are willing to put into our children. Using expensive products or free self-made materials is totally irrelevant.
Fast forward to today, my elder child is ten and the younger one is seven. Both of them are extremely curious learners and super-avid readers. They are currently studying in a wonderful international school in Hong Kong. Although we are native Chinese, my children excel in English and constantly attain the top grade – this is another subject I will share what I’ve learnt later. They are widely known as very sharp and “smart” and they grasp new ideas with ease. With a highly analytical mind and outspoken characters, they naturally become the leader in group situations.
Am I just lucky to have two smart kids? Or have I done something right that made them “smart”? I have paid hard and long thoughts on this matter. Over trial and error in many scenarios, reading tons of books on this subject, paying close attention to all experts advice combined with some intuitive gut feelings, I sum up my experiences and lessons and come up with eight recommendations which would guide you to raise your own smart children. These eight recommendations form a solid playbook for any serious parents so you don’t have to pull your hair out while searching for what to do / buy / read anymore. I name them the “8 Keys to Unlock Superior IQ in Children”.
First of all, let’s take a closer look into the term “IQ”.
THE IQ MYTH
Definition of IQ – short for Intelligence Quotient, is a number representing a person’s reasoning ability (measured using problem-solving tests) as compared to the statistical norm or average for their age, taken as 100.
When it comes to IQ, we are so used to thinking it as a gift from birth and we have no say about it. But more and more evidence have shown that it is so not the case! I would like to take some time here to show you solid proofs that IQ CAN BE ENHANCED given you do it at the right time with the right toolkit.
According to James Heckman, the Nobel prize laureate in Economics in 2000 and the Director at the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago who heads a research hub on the economics of early childhood education, their findings suggested that IQ is totally malleable during the early childhood years.
In one example, they ran experiments with two diverse groups of children – unmotivated black kids living in lower-class environment and white kids from upper-class neighbourhood. They gave each child who got a successful answer one M&M, just a M&M, and they told the children they would have another M&M for each correct answer on the IQ test. The result? The gap between black and white students in the IQ test scores vanished completely.
Heckman’s team has also taken disadvantaged, minority children starting at age 6-8 weeks and gave them intensive interventions for about eight years. The result? They managed to boost their IQ at least up to age 21. They also saw permanent differences between the treatment and control groups in both men and women, boys and girls.
In other words, IQ is shaped both genetically and via the environment. The environment where a child is raised in plays a major role in determining how smart a child will be. So, even the best gene in the world will be shut down if they are not discovered and developed early in life.
At the same time, if a child with mediocre gene is raised by the most loving, caring and nurturing parents, they stand a very high chance of becoming a smart kid. This notion not only is backed by James Heckman’s research team and in fact, real life examples are being recorded from time to time.
Laszlo Polgar, a Hungarian psychologist, believed that with enough hard work, parents could turn any child into an intellectual prodigy. He laid out this argument in a book called “Bring up Genius!” in the 1960s before he had his own family. To prove his theory, he did what he was promoting after his children were born. He home-schooled his three daughters and successfully turning all three into chess prodigies.
My personal hero, Pastor Karl Heinrich Gottfried Witte, wrote a masterpiece two hundred years ago about his unique education method with his son Karl Witte. The book, “The Education of Karl Witte”, is a vivid memoir consisting of how he resolved to raise a child with “mediocre mind” to a “superior man” even before his son was born and the detailed day-to-day activities he performed with Karl from newborn until Karl entered university at the age of nine. Karl’s achievements were more than remarkable. To list a few, under Pastor Witte’s intensive system, Karl mastered five foreign languages including French, Italian, Latin, English and Greek apart from his native language German by the age of nine; he was vastly knowledgeable in most artistic and scientific subjects; he was granted the Ph.D. distinction before he turned fourteen and at the age of sixteen; and he became a Doctor of Law and started to teach at the University of Berlin. Without a doubt, Karl’s success could be greatly attributed to his father’s teaching. Pastor Witte had showed us what’s possible in all children. It’s up to us, as parents, to unlock their potential.
You may ask is there a time limit for IQ to develop? It is confirmed by contemporary science that much of the essential wiring of a child’s 100 billion brain cells linked to learning is laid down during the first five years of life and the IQ of a child is hard to change after the age of eight to ten.
So we definitely want to make the best use of these first eight to ten years!
MY QUEST TO HIGH IQ FOR MY CHILDREN
Due to my heightened interest in early childhood education, I literally devoured most of the related books and articles and studies in order to lay out the “education plan” for my children. My intention here is to share what I learnt to other like-minded parents.
Yes, you heard me right. This information is not for everyone because as you march on, you will feel lonely sometimes. I have received many criticism myself in previous years even from very close family members and friends.
They might not understand what you are doing; they might give advice contrary to what you believed was right, they might cast doubt on the effect given the time you invested in an infant who couldn’t give you any response, they might want to draw your time and energy to something else instead.
But you are the one to make the ultimate decision as the responsible person of your child. The above short term pains or confusions will be forgotten once your child starts to connect with you; they will point at items you have been talking about before they could even speak, they will giggle before you turn the page and get to the joke of the book which you have read to them over and over again.
I guarantee you, if you are determined enough and you persist throughout in employing my suggestions, your investment of time and effort in your child’s first few crucial years will pay off exponentially. Your “smart” child will be a keen learner and on the right path towards success. You will rule out future nightmares that plagued so many parents nowadays – your child will not be addicted to TV / iPad and refuse to read; you will not end up with a “hidden adolescence / grown-up” who plays computer game 24/7 at home and lives in the cyber world refusing to face the real one; and you will not end up with a detached child whose first goal after getting the first job is to move out from your place.
Are you ready to do what it takes to enhance your child’s IQ?
Are you ready to invest the time and energy toward this goal even the result is not noticeable instantly?
(At the end of the day, you can’t expect a baby to wink at you and say he gets it, right? But you will be absolutely thrilled when he starts to flex his learning muscles at a later stage!)
Are you ready to persevere even when you are exhausted, drained at work, short of time or energy?
(Don’t panic, you have another day ahead!)
If your answer is no to all of the questions above, you may stop reading here for I don’t think my advice would help you or your child.
If you answer is yes to at least two of the questions above, CONGRATULATIONS! You are one of the very few who would actually benefit from the recommendations below because you are COMMITTED to do so.
I’m thrilled to share with you the “8 Keys to Unlock Superior IQ in Children”:
- Shower your children with love
- Talk to them as much as you can
- Read with them on a regular basis
- Give them enough sleep
- Feed them with good nutrition
- Limit screen time
- Value everyday play and activities
- Give them personal downtime
(If you are keen to receive the free ebook “8 keys to unlock superior IQ in children” with full details of the eight keys I mentioned above and the action steps to follow, subscribe to my email list.)
Thanks for reading this long post thus far!
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Rest happy as your children’s success is right at your fingertips!
Also published on Medium.