My daughter is 3 months old and has started responding to my and my partner's voices. We talk to her in different languages, play soft classical music, show her how to use her hand, and do all other stuff that keep her interested. While not substantiated, we believe that these activities help her learn faster. Are there any other tried and tested methods to help my kid attain a high Intelligence? Specifically, are there any toys and activities that have been scientifically shown to be effective?

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    Do you mean help your kid attain a higher general intelligence? Or score well on an IQ test? You'll find arguments suggesting an IQ is hereditary and varies little by influence. But that's just a stupid test. Aptitude is certainly trainable and being an attentive, mindful parent who exposes their children to a variety of experiences as opposed to allowing them to wallow in Kardashians and Mary Kay will definitely improve your odds of raising a more intelligent child. An IQ test though - you can practice those kinds of puzzles to game their little system. Don't take them too seriously
    – Kai Qing
    Nov 30, 2016 at 0:55
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    Don't mix up languages, that will just lead to strange speaking habits.
    – Etaila
    Dec 1, 2016 at 8:12
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    Tell her what is going to happen. E.g. "We are going to the supermarket, so you have to put your coat on". Do this even before she can talk: children probably start understanding things before they get the hang of the talking bit. Dec 1, 2016 at 18:33
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    I can't resist this caveat: be careful what you wish for. Kids with high IQs tend to have more problems in school and life than those with "normal" IQs. Dec 5, 2016 at 4:57
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    @Etaila: I've heard this, but I can also see a lot of benefit in being bilingual. Do you have any references for how much of a problem these "strange speaking habits" are? Presumably it takes the child a while to separate the two languages by grammar and vocabulary, but is there reason to think it won't happen in good time. Jul 23, 2017 at 13:24

4 Answers 4



I think a loving, healthy home is an excellent foundation. As a special needs teacher, I can tell you that parents might not control how intelligent their child might be, but that a bad influence can and does matter. You can help them achieve their best self. (I am not talking about parents who smoke or do drugs or did drugs while carrying a child -- of course that's a negative influence.)

Read to your child. Even now it is not too early. Be honest with answers. (Make sure you understand the question; 'where did I come from Dad?' could just mean that his friend is from India, and he wants to know where is he from.) Try to limit TV to stuff you can watch as a family. Discuss what you've seen. Listen to music. Show your child that you read and question news and information. Read fiction, non-fiction, history and science. Talk about what you are reading. Do homework as a family. Everyone is reading or writing or helping. I am not suggesting that you do their homework at all. But I hated being shoved away to do homework. Make it into an event.

If they make a mistake on their homework, explain it. Find out what information is not clear to them and explain it if you can. If you do not know -- admit it and then go look it up or ask their teacher for help. Make the child asking you into an opportunity. BUT, let them fail, too. When they do, say "Okay, what went wrong? What can we/you do to make it better or right?"

Get lots of exercise and play or do a sport together. Build your kid up. Encourage them.

Let them know that everyone makes mistakes and that failure is a great stepping stone to success and innovation. When you make a mistake or break something -- admit it! "Oops! I dropped the kitty litter bag. I need to be more careful. I will clean it up. Would you help me?" Give your child responsibilities. Chores are something the entire family does.


Providing a loving and supportive environment will provide the platform for her to become her best. I would not be concerned with her IQ because that is a genetically driven, not environmental. If the parents have a high IQ (>130 Stanford Binet) then there is a good chance normal offspring will be as well. Think of IQ as a light: the parents must guide the aim (guide) the light and focus it to shine brightly.

Children that are play musical instruments successfully are highly correlated with academic success: there is not causality between the two.

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    Can you provide a source for the assumption that IQ is genetically driven and not environmentally as well? Does it really depend on the parent's IQ, or only the mother's? Are you sure there is no causality between playing an instrument and IQ? But yes, providing a proper environment can increase the IQ (so environment matters indeed).
    – daraos
    Nov 30, 2016 at 6:32
  • I'm upvoting because I think even the sources for the contention that IQ is genetic is speculation no matter where it comes from. My wife had an obsession with this and even after extensive research in medical journals you'll still feel uncertain about what to believe in the field. Perhaps unrelated, but high IQ parents may be more likely to expose their kids to different interests and experiences which end up broadening their minds. In general I think the answer is useful, albeit a bit brief
    – Kai Qing
    Nov 30, 2016 at 21:05

Disclaimer: I don't have a source for this (and I'm too lazy to search it out).

I read something a few years ago that boiled down to: "a greater variety of words heard at young ages directly impacts a child's IQ/intelligence".

The context of it was an article discussing single parents who are forced to leave the child in front of the TV vs parents who had the time to interact with the child and thus expose them to far more varied words and concepts. Also, in this case the child was essentially babysat by the TV for HOURS each day. Normal TV watching for short times was outside the scope of what was being discussed.

Now studies are saying that IQ is genetic, but I believe it is also a fact that new paths in the brain are formed as different concepts are introduced, learned and linked to existing concepts and memories. So at the very least the nurture part of brain development can be maximized/optimized (within reason).

So in answer to your question: talk to your child in a very descriptive way such as: "I'm opening the drawer to get the spoon. See the spoon? Its made of metal and is cool to the touch. Now we are pouring cereal into a bowl. Can you hear the bag rustling? Milk comes in big plastic jugs - notice how white the milk looks?" etc.


IQ is mostly genetic and partially environmental. So...

How can you maximize your child's IQ potential?

note: all primary sources are in video descriptions

  • Breastfeed 18 months if possible. Breastmilk is genetically tailored for your child providing a large range of benefits, formula is not. Physical contact with the mother is also a large part of gaining a sense of security for the child. https://youtu.be/qSJG2QS4mvI

  • Don't abuse, spank, or use harsh punishments. https://youtu.be/sBm8i96ZGcQ

  • Teach your child Philosophy. https://youtu.be/8wY1m2MqXj0

  • Presumably, provide a stable, loving environment and don't leave your baby crying alone in a room all night.

Other resources:

Peaceful Parenting Series: Raising Children Without Aggression: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMNj_r5bccUwZY7RCZnS2e5-vjaA7wSNw

Real Time Relationships (PDF download) http://www.fdrurl.com/RTRPDF

Of possible interest: On Truth: The Tyranny of Illusion (PDF download) http://www.fdrurl.com/OTPDF

Of possible interest: The Origins of War in Child Abuse (MP3 Audiobook download) http://cdn.freedomainradio.com/OWCA_Audiobook_64.mp3

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    also: have them practice the IQ test.
    – tuskiomi
    Jul 25, 2017 at 16:50
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    I disagree. The only thing that iq measures in any definitive way is how good someone is at taking the test. You can generally correlate iq to some things, but it's not really heavily tied to much. Just like students who take the ACT twice, i think that someone who takes tube IQ test more than once will see a definite improvement over time.
    – tuskiomi
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:26
  • Low ACE scores are correlated with successful life outcomes.. no criminality, marriage, job etc. It often trumps IQ if you have a high ACE score (firsthand experience!). If you disagree with IQ tests being viable indicators of intelligence, then get me a credible source lol. The purpose of an IQ test is to measure intelligence. Not to practice and get as high of a score as possible. If you practice an IQ test you are memorizing answers or patterns and the score is flawed.
    – Craig
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:37

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