In an academic-focused country like Singapore, it is little wonder that some parents are obsessed with how to boost their toddler’s IQ.
With the influx of brain development classes which start as young as six months old, parents have no qualms about sending their babies in hope of “opening up” their brains, and hopefully nurture a brainy child.
Some parents subscribe to believe that their child’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a key to success in life. While parents hope for an intelligent child, many parents emphasis this during the toddler years (after their child turns one) as the brain is known to triple in size from birth, by the age of three.
In fact, the youngest child to be accepted into Mensa Singapore (part of Mensa International which takes in the top 2% of the population) is all of two years old, and has an IQ of 142. This means that Elijah Catalig’s intellect is that of a four- to five-year-old!
Parents need to understand that your toddler’s IQ is not the ‘be all end all’!
What is the Intelligence Quotient (IQ)?
An IQ test is a psychological measure of a person’s level of intelligence through a set of standardised test.
How is IQ measured and determined?
IQ tests measures the “fluid” and “crystalised” intelligence of a person.
Fluid intelligence refers to the problem-solving ability, and being able to think and reason abstractly.
Crystalised intelligence on the other hand, involves knowledge from one’s past experience and prior learning.
The licensed psychologist administers a myriad of tests which involves different kinds of intelligence tests, designed to measure one’s mathematical abilities, language skills, memory, reasoning skills, and information-processing speed.
Mensa Singapore shares some sample questions on their website. Some questions pattern sequencing which tests a person’s reasoning skills, to arrive at the right answer.
An average IQ score stands at 100. Below charts the breakdown of IQ scores and their classification:
- 115 to 129 – Above average; bright
- 130 to 144 – Moderately gifted
- 145 to 159 – Highly gifted
- 160 to 179 – Exceptionally gifted
- 180 and up – Profoundly gifted
How does a toddler’s brain develop?
Research has shown that the early years are important because in the first few years of life, the brain architecture reflects that 700 new neural connections are formed per second.
These neural connections are developed with the interaction of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences, especially the “serve and return” interaction with adults. This is akin to a ping pong game, where responses go both ways, and is linked to development of social skills and communication.
It is also noted that by the time your toddler turns two, his cerebral cortex contains well over a hundred trillion synapses, which are responsible for the transmission and receipt of information in the brain.
The brain is a massive network of connections and your toddler’s IQ is blossoming during the first three years of his life.
Is it possible to boost my toddler’s IQ?
Studies show that our brain attains adult weight by early childhood, usually by age 5-10 years, and by the time your child is around four-years-old, his brain would have been 90% of the size of an adult’s brain.
So technically speaking, the toddler years (age one to three), is a window of opportunity for nurturing your child’s brain development in a bid to work on his IQ levels.
So, how to boost toddler’s IQ? Looks like it’s more than just sending him to enrichment classes…
10 Tips on how to boost toddler’s IQ
#1: Read stories to your child.
Read board books, magazines, and any bright, colourful materials which catches your toddler’s attention.
By reading stories to your child even at a very young age, your child will learn language, facial expressions and voice signals that he or she will later imitate. This will fuel her love for reading and lead her to learn the language quickly, to use facial expressions and understand voice signals early in his or her life. Reading is also proven to encourage language development in toddlers, which helps with imagination and linguistic abilities.
What you can do with your toddler: Read board books, magazines, and any bright, colourful materials which catches your toddler’s attention. Our neighbourhood libraries and national library offer a children’s section with a wide variety of books.
#2: Introduce music and rhythm as early as possible.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Silly Sounds Light-Up Piano
It has been known that music can increase a person’s mental ability because it can stimulate the brain’s nerve endings. Thus, it is recommended that even while pregnant, a mother should listen to classical music to stimulate the brain of her an unborn child.
Likewise, children who are exposed to music and rhythm most likely have the inclination for such as they grow up.
What you can do with your toddler: Turn on the music and dance with your toddler! Music and movement classes are popular in Singapore. Some places which offer such classes for tots – Mini Maestros, Our Music Studio Singapore, Staccato, Kindermusik with Love, Rhythm in Me.
#3: Intro your child to sports, games or other physical activities.
Physical activities such as sports or outdoor games help the body receive fresh oxygen to promote blood circulation in the brain. This helps to invigorate your toddler’s brain to enhance sound thinking, fresh creativity, enhanced concentration and brain power boosting.
What you can do with your toddler: Go outdoors with your kids and get close to nature, or simply indulge in a day at the beach or park for a breathe of fresh air. Do take note that such outdoor activities should be done when the haze is not looming. Check out this list of places which offer sport classes and physical activities for your toddlers:
#4: Build a strong relationship with your toddler.
Parent-and-child time together helps to build bonds, deepen connectivity on different levels and plays a role in your toddler’s IQ.
Studies show that emotional well-being and social competence help build a solid foundation for the cognitive abilities that your toddler is developing, and they function like bricks and mortar of brain architecture. The emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive-linguistic capacities which develop during the toddler years are are key aspects to success in school, at work, and in society.
As learning is linked to your toddler’s brain, having a close relationship where both are connected, allows your child to be more motivated. Eye contact and expression helps build bonds during parent-child interaction.
What you can do with your toddler: Parent-child time need not be intensive and can be as simple as reading together, or doing some colouring or craft work together. Putting aside 10 to 15 minutes to chat with your toddler at the end of the day counts too!
#5: Engage your toddler in mental workouts.
Mental workouts such as tests, puzzles or word games will stimulate the brain to exercise its different functions. If the brain is kept active, then its ability to process information will increase. Consequently, this will lead to a higher IQ for your toddler’s developing brain.
What you can do with your toddler: Chess is known to stimulate the brain’s ability to concentrate, analyse problems, and work out solutions. So playing chess with your child once in a while can help boost his brain power.
Alternatively, there are several brain-enhancing classes available in Singapore which aims to harness the child’s brain power and untapped potential during the early years. These classes include: Shichida Method, Heguru, iGenius, CMA Mental Arithmetic, Singapore Brain Development Centre.
#6: Allow experiential-learning to mould your child’s brain.
Active engagement provides the best learning for toddlers. Through his five senses, your child explores and discovers new things on his own, which heightens the learning process.
What you can do with your toddler: Let your little one explore in a safe environment, be it in your home or in the outdoors. Allowing your toddler to touch and feel new materials helps stimulate sensory development e.g. sand, water, sponge, balloon.
As your tot gets fascinated with what he sees and feels, explain to him and share information about these materials, for example: “The sponge is soft and light when it’s dry, but it becomes heavy when it has soaked up water.”
#7: Provide nutritious and brain-boosting food to your child.
Besides fatty acids like Omega-3 and DHA, feed your child a variety of brain food such as nuts, yogurt and green vegetables to provide nutrients and aid in building your toddler’s IQ.
According to research, our brains function effectively with the use of Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA, an essential fatty acid found in fish oil and other food. Without this essential fatty acid, the brain will slow down and may not be able to function properly.
A proper diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables will also help in the proper functioning of the brain.
What you can do with your toddler: Ensure your toddler has a balanced meal with fresh ingredients. Find out what are the best brain-boosting food that’s good for your toddler’s brain health and cognitive development.
#8: Enable your child to get enough rest and sleep.
Ensure that your child gets sufficient amount of sleep through the day and night.
Having a good night’s sleep can improve brain functions to keep your child mentally alert. Rest is important and crucial for the brain cells to rejuvenate overnight.
Sufficient sleep is linked to mental alertness, concentration and memory, which affects your toddler’s learning and mental abilities. Sleep deprivation may lead to an irritable toddler, who may seek constant stimulation.
What you can do with your toddler: Research show that sleep is important for a child, and for toddlers, naps count towards the rest too. Here is a guideline on how much sleep your little one should have but fret not if your child’s sleep patterns are slightly different – every child is different too.
#9: Expose your toddler to different activities.
As your child experiences many things through varied activities, he or she will gain knowledge which will increase your toddler’s IQ. In all of these, the key to how to boost your toddler’s IQ is to create an environment that will quicken your child’s brain potentials.
This aligns with exposing your child to experiential-learning (as above), so your toddler gets to awaken his sensory abilities and cognitive development.
What you can do with your toddler: Plan different activities to allow your toddler to embrace new learning, different environments and pick up new skills. All of which contribute to working your child’s brain through experience, which makes up his IQ too.
#10: Give your child opportunities to socialise with other children.
Let your toddler explore and experience different activities including playing with older kids, and that helps him learn about his environment, which contributes to cognitive development and your toddler’s IQ.
It is through these interactions with others that she can develop her interpersonal intelligence, communication skills and social abilities. When they mingle with others, they learn how to adjust to others, which makes up your toddler’s experience bank too.
What you can do with your toddler: Allow your child to play and mingle with kids of his age in the neighbourhood, organise playdates with your friends and their kids, or even in regular childcare or playgroup which sees tots from 18-months-old in Singapore.
Weekend classes are great if parents prefer not to put their toddler in a full-day or half-day class over the weekdays. Playdates are fun ways for kids to interact and explore new toys, activities and environment and some places to bring your toddlers to include indoor playgrounds or playgrounds in shopping malls.
In all of these, the key to improving your toddler’s IQ is to create an environment that will quicken your child’s brain potentials. Patience is key too, and parents need to remember that every child develops at their own pace.
IQ levels are not the only aspects to develop in a toddler – let’s not forget about our child’s character-building, values and attitudes.
1Based on results of IAUCO-10h value for DHA at 1.96 times greater with Scott’s Emulsion Original vs a non- emulsified cod liver oil, in a pharmacokinetics study in 47 healthy adults, to determine and compare the plasma Omega 3 (DHA & EPA) levels after ingestion of Scott’s Emulsion Original and a non-emulsified MAT.