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Some say screen time isn't good. Others encourage non-verbal communication.

What should we do with our 6-month-old baby?

His mom and I have IQs of 129 and 135, respectively. The child has good genes and we want him to have a high IQ as well.

The child smiles and looks happy when he watches videos like this.

Also, he likes the Fun Fun Elmo series.

He cries when he sees something he doesn't like.

However some people say videos should be avoided.

20 Answers 20

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At six months old, the key is to talk a lot, and to give the baby lots of opportunities to explore their environment. One approach that worked well for us was to follow the Montessori approach to organizing our house and what our children played with.

One example for that approach is on this site, which gives a good overview of the concepts. Key things to consider:

  • Focus on having a nice clean space that has lots of room for movement and exploration. While a six month old is probably immobile for the most part, that's going to change soon! There should be lots of open floor space for moving around, and a well organized child-focused area for their toys.
  • Toys are mostly simple, wooden, with the concept to allow the baby to explore their senses. Rattles, mobiles, things like that are great. Include a variety of textures A wooden A-Frame is a really good thing to have because it allows a lot of different things - you can put toys on it at this age (like a mobile) to play with, and then as she gets older she can use it to support herself as she stands and walks with support.
  • When you are spending time with her, truly focus on her. Phone stays in your pocket, or better yet in another room. Feeding is a great time to talk to her - doesn't matter a whole lot what you say; if you're not one for "baby talk", then give her lectures on what interests you. No, she won't remember who won the Peloponnesian War, but she'll remember you spending time with her and gain lots of brain development, particularly in the verbal center.
  • Get in good habits. Reading to her is one that you can get into at this age - even if she doesn't do anything other than just watch you, you're training yourself to read to her, and helping get her used to being read to, and of course you're developing her language centers further.

This is a key time to help develop her mind and body, and take advantage of every minute you have with her. Don't focus on "IQ" - and these wouldn't be any different for any child, no matter their potential. Focus on interacting with her and giving her as much stimulation as she wants, and she'll be well set up for success!

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    I'd add music to the list. – Tracy Cramer Nov 17 at 6:42
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    Note to OP: mobile means this, not this! – TonyK Nov 17 at 11:52
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    I would add NATURE. Get the child to know and spend time in nature and natural things. The sun light, the rain, bodies of water, plants, gardening, observing animals and insects. Definitely avoid swiping and scrolling machines and time-eating TV "just to keep the kid quiet" – Manuki Nov 17 at 14:11
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    "...take advantage of every minute you have with her." That sounds absolutely exhausting when stated that way. It sounds like hyperuberOCD parenting. Kids are work, yes, but they aren't little machines to be programmed. The more fun you have with kids (mutual fun), the more you'll enjoy interacting with them. Also, babytalk is important. Lecturing a kid on something that interests you but has noting it it for the baby will do nothing for enrichment. Babytalk emphasizes vowel/common consonant sounds, is sing-songy, melodic, repetitive, and accompanied by interesting facial expressions... – anongoodnurse Nov 17 at 18:17
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    @henning--reinstateMonica - Sure, not only possible, but probable! (Also, thanks for pointing that out.) Even so, at 6 months, I suspect asking, "Do sweet peas grow on trees? I don't think so!!!" would have about the same effect as, "Does my honey-bunny have a wet diaper? Let's see!!!" As the child refines their ability to make connections, the latter becomes more important, while the former becomes whimsical. – anongoodnurse Nov 17 at 20:52
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Turn off the TV and interact with your child

If your IQs are so high, use that intelligence. You can't make a child more clever. That's built in, by nature. What you want are skills they can develop through nurture.

You can help a child to build language skills by constantly interacting with them, talking to them, singing to them, reading to them. The more they experience in terms of seeing and hearing people physically with them talking, the faster they'll build those skills. They can't learn from seeing a person on TV.

There are many studies that find a link between educational outcomes and being read to, but many of these confuse cause and effect. Reading to children is something which parents do when they take a deep involvement in raising the child. What matters most is parental attention, not the book. Although the concept of "books are fun" is still important for literacy later.

Sing to them, especially rhythmic and repetitive songs. If you do want to get numeracy in early, you can do counting songs and raise fingers. Don't expect the child to pick up on the actual counting for a couple of years though.

Work with them to play with toys that build motor skills. Putting shapes into holes is a classic children's toy, and it really does help them. Lots of those kind of toys.

Take them outdoors and let them see the world around. More new sights to stimulate their developing brain, and more new words.

You're probably also looking at baby led weaning about now. If you can find foods they really like (and which are healthy!), they'll transfer onto solid food more easily if they can pick it up and suck it or chew it, compared to having spoons pushed in their face. It's also another good motor and visual skills exercise, picking up food and getting it to their mouth. Don't reduce the milk until they're getting proper amounts of solid food, though.

And lastly, quit talking nonsense about your IQ and your "good genes". Don't compare your child's achievements to yours, especially if they don't do as well as you. Don't let your child hear you boasting either, because they shouldn't be comparing themselves to other people like that. Set a moral example.

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    You claim to know a lot of things a lot better than other people. Can you please back this up with some actual sources. A lot of the claims seem blatantly false to me. For example I think current scientific consensus does not agree with "You can't make a child more clever. That's built in, by nature." Development during children's youth affect their adult IQ. (See for example ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511162 but an expert can probably give you a much better reference.) – Kvothe Nov 17 at 14:44
  • @Kvothe IQ is tricky anyway, because not everyone (Stephen Gould, famously) believes that it is a good indicator of "intelligence". Early IQ tests can be a pointer to academic success, true - but that is strongly confounded by quality of teaching and parenting, and by the fact that taking an IQ test is a skill in its own right. Again, we're in the realms of teaching a child skills, not "making them more clever". – Graham Nov 17 at 20:02
  • @Kvothe As for knowing this "a lot better than other people", every book on parenting, and every parenting class, will tell you every point I've mentioned above. I'd like to say "literally every one", but to be a bit more correct I'm going to say 100% with several sigmas error. – Graham Nov 17 at 20:06
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    The "lastly" should come first, and that's about the only fault I can find in this excellent answer. – henning -- reinstate Monica Nov 17 at 20:34
  • @Graham Why would you take Gould seriously? He has a horrible reputation for a reason. – Rodrigo de Azevedo Nov 18 at 19:31
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Above all else, let her play. In my opinion there is way too much focus on academics in the early years these days, and not enough on creativity and play which are integral to how a child learns about the world around it. Let her play, be creative, use her imagination. These things will serve her phenomenally well later in life (problem solving, deductive reasoning, etc.), especially if her peers lack in those areas. She will likely be more able to excel beyond them.

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    This. There is "too much focus on academics" not only in the early years. Academic achievement is not equivalent to intelligence, and intelligence is not equivalent to a well-developed and content personality. The OP's child will likely be on the intelligent side no matter what. But will it be happy? – Peter - Reinstate Monica Nov 17 at 15:40
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    As a bit of an addition, I'm also horrified at the trend of not allowing children to read or learn things on their own if they are deemed "too young for that". If a child has an interest in something, no matter how complex or advanced you may think it is, let them have at it! I was reading at 2 and read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I had to gradually learn over many years to dial it wayyyyy down so I could survive in the (American) public school system. – JVC Nov 17 at 19:22
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    @JVC "I'm also horrified at the trend of not allowing children to read or learn things on their own if they are deemed "too young for that"." I think that there might be an exception for sexual topics, though. Precocious sexuality can be a sign of sexual abuse, and allowing it to continue might well be abusive in its own right. – nick012000 Nov 18 at 3:54
  • Well yes absolutely, in fact the current trend of sexual instruction in many schools (as opposed to basic education) also horrifies me. All just makes me that much happier to have opted out of human children! – JVC Nov 18 at 12:52
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Including your children in your life and activities builds both intelligence and capacity. Especially for young children, avoid passive activities like videos, or non-human interactions such as computer games --resist the temptation to let YouTube raise them for you. Instead, have real conversations with your children. Talk to them and listen. Do creative activities together. Encourage them to create their own books, their own music. Let them help you in the kitchen, or with household chores, or on personal projects. That will both build your personal connection, and their ability to engage productively with the world. They are never too young for you to engage with them in some way, and the younger they are, the more crucial and vital that is. There will be plenty of enough time for them to gain mastery and fluency with technology when they get older.

There's hard evidence that too much focus on intelligence can be counter-productive. A child who is taught that their achievements are tied to an inborn quality that they have no conscious control over can be overconfident and complacent when facing challenges, and feel helpless and insecure in the face of failures. Children who are praised, instead, for hard work, persistence and dedication, learn resilience, and a sense of personal agency. I was an intelligent child, and I can report firsthand that intelligence doesn't lead inevitably to achievement. It took me a long time to retrain myself to not just rely on my inborn talents for success.

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  • The paper is not about "too much focus on intelligence", it's only about "too much praise for intelligence". Which is obviously not the only way to focus on intelligence. – Victor Sergienko Nov 19 at 20:33
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Tips to develop intelligence in infants:

  • Create a safe environment for the child at home, where they feel secure and loved, and have an opportunity to explore the world without excessive stress.
  • Avoid screen time. For details, see: Should I show my six month old educational videos?
  • Talk to the child. A lot. Use "parentese" (the exaggerated pronunciation most adults use instinctively when talking to infants).

REFERENCES:

Disclaimer (Nov 18 '20): The quotation below needs support from the references cited in the book (pending). Please treat the section below as provisional.

If you want a well-educated child, you must create an environment of safety. When the brain’s safety needs are met, it will allow its neurons to moonlight in algebra classes.

(p. 177)

The variety and number of words matter

The more parents talk to their children, even in the earliest moments of life, the better their kids linguistic abilities become and the faster that improvement is achieved. The gold standard is 2,100 words per hour. The variety of the words spoken (nouns, verbs, and adjectives used, along with the length and complexity of phrases and sentences) is nearly as important as the number of words spoken. So is the amount of positive feedback. You can reinforce language skills through interaction: looking at your infant; imitating his vocalizations, laughter, and facial expressions; rewarding her language attempts with heightened attention. Children whose parents talked positively, richly, and regularly to them knew twice as many words as kids whose parents talked to them the least. When these kids entered the school system, their reading, spelling, and writing abilities soared above those of children in less verbal households. Even though babies don’t respond like adults, they are listening, and it is good for them.

Talking increases IQ

Talking to children early in life raises their IQs, too, even after controlling for important variables such as income. By age 3, kids who were talked to regularly by their parents (called the talkative group) had IQ scores 1 1/2 times higher than those kids whose parents talked to them the least (called the taciturn group). This increase in IQ is thought to be responsible for the talkative group’s uptick in grades.

Remember, it takes a real live person to benefit your baby’s brain, so get ready to exercise your vocal cords. Not the portable DVD player’s, not your television’s surround-sound, but your vocal cords.

What to say and how to say it

Though 2,100 words per hour might sound like a lot, it actually represents a moderate rate of conversation. Outside of work, the typical person hears or sees about 100,000 words in a day. So there’s no need to constantly babble to your baby in some 24/7 marathon. Overstimulation can be just as hazardous to brain development as understimulation (remember Goldilocks), and it’s important to watch your baby for signs of fatigue. But no language exposure is too silly. “Now we’re going to change your diaper.” “Look at the beautiful tree! “What is that?” You can count steps out loud as you walk up a staircase. Just get in the habit of talking.

(pp. 182-184)

Parentese is characterized by a high-pitched tone and a sing-song voice with stretched-out vowels. Though parents don’t always realize they do it, this kind of speech helps a baby’s brain learn. Why? It is much easier to understand a speaker who has slowed down, for one. Parentese also makes the sound of each vowel more distinct; this exaggeration allows your baby to hear words as distinct entities and discriminate better between them. The melodic tone helps infants separate sounds into contrasting categories. And the high pitch may assist infants in imitating the characteristics of speech. After all, with a vocal tract one-quarter the size of yours, they can produce fewer sounds, at first only at higher pitches.

When should you start doing all this talking? The real answer is that nobody knows, but we have strong hints that the answer is going to be “as soon as they are born”. “As we saw with the newborn who stuck his tongue back out at Andy Meltzoff, babies are reliably capable of interacting with adults 42 minutes after birth. And preverbal infants are processing a lot of verbal information, even if they don’t always seem to be taking it in. Even reading to a 3-month-old is probably good, especially if you hold the child close and allow her to interact with you.

Educational psychologist William Fowler trained a group of parents to talk to their children in a particular fashion, following some of the guidelines mentioned above. The children spoke their first words between 7 and 9 months of age, some even speaking sentences at 10 months. They had conquered most of the basic rules of grammar by age 2, while the controls achieved a similar mastery around age 4. Longer-term studies showed that the kids did very well in school, including in math and science. By the time they entered high school, 62 percent of them were enrolled in gifted or accelerated programs. Critical parts of Fowler’s training program need further study, but his work is terrific. It adds to the overwhelming evidence that a whole lot of talking is like fertilizer for neurons.

(pp. 185-186)

Medina, J. (2010). Brain rules for baby: How to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five. Seattle: Pear Press. https://www.amazon.com/Brain-Rules-Baby-Raise-Smart/dp/0983263302/


Brain Rules for Baby: practical tips: http://www.brainrules.net/pdf/brain-rules-for-baby-practical-tips.pdf

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    I'd qualify the "avoid screen time". Its true that watching TV is a lot less good than interacting with the real world, but on the other hand its a lot better than staring at a blank wall. Also, as the baby grows it will become better able to understand what is happening on the screen. Toddlers (roughly, 2-5 years) can benefit from appropriate TV in sensible amounts. washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/03/12/… – Paul Johnson Nov 16 at 17:01
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    We found that our son could understand stuff well before he could talk. So saying things like "We are going to the supermarket. Then we are going to the park" got a much more positive response than just trying to shove him into his coat and shoes. – Paul Johnson Nov 16 at 17:02
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    Avoid screen time is absolutely appropriate for the age here - 6 months. See the linked question for more details; but in general, a six month old gets no benefit from any screen time. Staring at a blank wall is probably better in fact - they can see shadows, textures, etc. on the wall, can poke it, can feel it, etc. Screen time in small amounts is okay for older children (18 months and up), but not at all for infants. – Joe Nov 16 at 19:24
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    "kids who were talked to regularly by their parents (...) had IQ scores 1 1/2 times higher than those kids whose parents talked to them the least" That looks suspiciously impossible. – RonJohn Nov 17 at 14:35
  • @RonJohn I will check the cited article and get back to you later. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. – Timur Shtatland Nov 17 at 17:12
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What can I do to a 6 month child so she end up smart and have high IQ?

Your child's IQ is what it is. (The constant drive of IQ test developers is to take the child's socio-economic and educational background out of the picture.) The only thing that can change it is damage (via trauma or exposure to certain chemicals).

Thus, nothing that any of the other answers suggest can make her more intelligent, it can "only" help make her smarter, more well-balanced, creative, responsible, etc.

EDIT: This article quotes a behavioral psychologist who says "You can raise your child's IQ by six points by" reading to them and playing simple teaching games.

That means the brain is not infinitely plastic, and that there is a hard upper limit to a person's IQ.

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    Can you cite a source for this answer? The child in question is 6 months old, and to my knowledge there is no IQ test for children of this age, and as such it would be impossible to confirm that "your child's IQ is what it is." Furthermore, this answer seems to cite a study in which certain types of parent behavior did have a significant positive effect on a number of factors that look a lot like IQ (and likely IQ as well). – DreamConspiracy Nov 17 at 12:50
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    What's your source for this belief/answer? IQ tests are fallible; they do not truly measure a person's "intelligence". They are influenced by culture (plagued by bias in those making up the test, e.g. white kids did better than black kids because some of the questions were about things that only white kids were likely to have encountered), motivation (kids do better on the same test some days than on others), coaching, etc. One of many sources supporting this comment: discovermagazine.com/mind/…. – anongoodnurse Nov 17 at 17:53
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    -1. This is an unsupported bias expressed as an answer. It really should be downvoted and flagged. – anongoodnurse Nov 17 at 18:07
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    MODERATORS: very few answers have citations, and only one of the answers (parenting.stackexchange.com/a/40790/27621) has a citation to a scholarly article, and it's strongly skeptical of a focus on praising intelligence). Why is my answer being picked on? – RonJohn Nov 18 at 3:24
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    @R..GitHubSTOPHELPINGICE if that's the case, then it spectacularly failed to show that members of the "Yellow Peril" are inferior. – RonJohn Nov 18 at 5:11
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Several of the other answers touch near this, but I didn't see anyone directly state it.

One of the most beneficial things you can do to help your child's development is to read to/with your child.

Reading with your child is one of the most effective ways to build the "language" neural connections. Reading aloud to kids has clear cognitive benefits, and also has the benefit of strengthening their social, emotional, and character development.

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One of the most important things you can do for your child as they reach the age where they can begin eating solid foods is to make sure you are watching their early-childhood nutrition.

Make sure your child stays on a healthy growth curve and is getting plenty of essential nutrients from a variety of sources. Micronutrients that have shown to be critical for healthy brain development include iodine, vitamin B-12, Zinc and especially iron. Look for fortified rice, meats and cereals to help.

Making sure your child is getting proper nutrition is perhaps one of the best things you can do for their brain development.

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3

You will probably be interested in the book "Kindergarten is too late" (幼稚園では遅すぎる) by Masaru Ibuka. To quote a review of the book:

Masaru Ibuka makes astonishing (and interesting) suggestions for the early development of the child. Since a small child would rather learn than eat, why not let him learn foreign languages at the same time as his mother tongue? Why not let him learn to swim at the same time as crawl? Why not let him learn to read, and learn to play a musical instrument?
...
The author claims that training in violin playing develops powers of concentration. Another interesting claim of Ibuka’s is that excellence in one thing gives confidence in others. Even if the reader does not agree fully with Ibuka about early-development theories, this book will at least encourage him to think about satisfying the young child’s immense curiosity about his environment.

You can find the Russian version on the publishers website for free, but unfortunately the English version costs ~$150 as its been out of print for several decades now.

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There are many kinds of smart. IQ, logic and math aptitude are not everything. Familiarize yourself with the many areas your child will need to improve in over the years and make sure to include them all in your child's upbringing and education. Interpersonal skills, empathy, physical education, coordination, morals.

Also, one does not need a high IQ in order to be happy and lead a fulfilling life.

You may want to familiarize yourself with Montessori ubringing philosophy. Take a quick look at Montessori parenting or the 6 Montessori parenting habits. While this approach may be controversial, especially when strictly adhering to Montessori's rules, there are certain ideas and philosophy that I think are worth considering.

And a private remark: let the child explore, let the child make mistakes. It's the basis of engineering and, I think, the basis of all life: try, fail and improve. It's evolution, it's literature, it's rocket science.

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    The multiple intelligences theory that you mention is generally rejected by mainstream psychology since the statistical evidence for it is lacking. See this section in Wikiepdia and especially the associated citations which seem excellent for the full details. Of course that does not mean that the behavior suggested in this answer is a bad idea- just that there being multiple intelligences isn't a good reason for it. – DreamConspiracy Nov 19 at 12:55
  • I edited the answer and removed the questionable image. The main idea behind my answer still stands: there's much more to growing up and living than being smart. – Dariusz 5 hours ago
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Yes, as a general rule they gain nothing from screen time at this age. It represents only 'opportunity cost'. That is, they lose out from the things they could have been doing instead. They can't understand what they're seeing and hearing, so they have no way to contextualise it and save it into their brains as useful knowledge.

Some people are arguing that IQ is inherited and can't be changed, but that's a little inaccurate. Your genes give you source material but nurture is what 'makes the most of it' and allows it to develop. A tomato seed can only ever grow into a tomato plant. But how big and fruitful it is, or if it ever grows at all, is heavily dictated by its environment. The genes may limit or increase the potential for fruit and size etc but a poor and unhealthy environment will do far more damage. So that's kind of how it is with humans or other animals. You can't make them 'more' clever, you can optimise what they already have. You're probably aware that at birth babies still have a huge amount of brain growth left to do.

Safety, love, play (chat), good food and exercise.

Stress (feeling unsafe) and neglect will limit brain development and contribute to developmental delays, mental health problems etc. Google the Romanian orphans to find out more.

Make sure your baby always feels loved and safe. That is the most important thing. Frightened animals (and people) cannot learn as well because the brain will ALWAYS prioritise safety first. This includes practicing a level of radical empathy that is lacking in many parents. (not spoiling the kid, but understanding them and explaining things).

Talk to him all the time - try to take him everywhere that is safe and appropriate, and chat about the things you see. They understand a lot long before they can speak and it wires their brain to your language and feeling loved. It develops an active, thinking, mind.

As he gets older try to explore lots of different things. Don't expect your kid to have the same talents and interests as you. They might, they might not. You need to figure out what they were born to love and are naturally good at (or at least happy to spend lots of time doing) and make opportunities and give gentle encouragement (not pressure). Back to the tomato plant - we give it fresh air, water and sunshine, and let the plant do the rest. Oh well then we add some support poles when needed.

If you want a child that grows up into someone who can think things through:

Read up about the Socratic method and try that. It's basically asking questions and getting the child to give their ideas.

Never ever ever make fun of him for his questions or theories.

Let him make mistakes. As long as it isn't life threatening/seriously harmful, mistakes (in a safe and non judgemental environment) are an incredibly valuable learning tool. Yes, even at six months as they start to explore their environment you can let them try things you know won't work.

In a similar vein, responsibility. Let him have responsibility for anything he can handle. Assume he can handle it (age appropriate of course) before taking over and diving in.

Critical thinking is a good intellectual skill. You can help develop this by modelling it and talking to the child, asking questions etc. You will probably want to use google for better info.

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1

At this age children can pick up languages quite easily, so this is something you want to exploit. You can e.g. hire tutors for a few languages, like Chinese, ancient Greek, Latin etc. You should let your child play a lot, you can choose games that require some intellectual effort like counting without that being a formal arithmetic lesson.

Start with formal math like algebra somewhere between the age of 4 and 6. Around that age the language skills of children increases rapidly, and you can then teach math as a language. This is not done in the regular curriculum, we wait with abstract math when children are much older and this causes math to be perceived as a hard subject. But this not much different from trying to learn Chinese at the age of 16 when it would have been so much easier had you learned it at the age of 2.

Doing these things will cause your child to learn much better in school, he'll be able to start with lessons for much older kids and end up going to university in his early teens.

Exercise and nutrition is also important. Let your child eat only whole foods when it starts to eat solid foods. This has a large fiber content which is essential for the microbiome. If you start doing this when the child grows up, it will get used to eating 100 grams of fiber a day as an adult, which is the natural amount of fiber we all ate before the invention of agriculture. We now know that the microbiome is essential for optimal brain function.

Antibiotics destroy the microbiome. So, don't give give your child antibiotics unless it is really necessary for medical reasons. So, don't give antibiotics to cure a throat infection if your child is otherwise doing fine, just because his throat hurts a bit.

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    You've got a lot of specific claims in there; your answer would be improved by a source or two, at least. And as far as Algebra "not done in the regular curriculum", the Common Core has Algebraic Thinking concepts introduced in first grade (6); it's true that I'd support doing more at that stage, but they definitely are setting the stage for formal Algebra earlier these days (and getting a TON of pushback from parents who don't understand it!) – Joe Nov 17 at 16:56
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    Children don't learn languages by having private tutors, they learn by assimilation. – chasly - supports Monica Nov 17 at 22:07
  • @countiblis: How many normal parents do you expect are able to pay for tutors for multiple foreign languages? You cannot do algebra if you cannot do simple math. – JRE Nov 18 at 10:05
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If you think IQ is a good measure of intelligence, you don't understand intelligence.


You can't make a child smart. What you can do, however, is teach the importance of critical thinking skills and scientific literacy.

You need to try and find a way to spark some intellectual curiosity and then foster that whichever way the child chooses to take it.

A few ideas:

  • Go on family trips to fun museums, not the boring local town ones. Let the kid choose which they're most interested in.
  • Get some at-home science kits like the KiwiCo boxes and work through them.
  • Read, read, read, to your kid, every night.
  • Don't force them to keep studying/pretending to like something they don't. You need to try and find something that genuinely sparks their curiosity and then nurture that, it can't be forced.

Whatever you do, let your child take the lead. You are the facilitator. If you try to force it you'll become a helicopter parent, the child will resent you and you won't achieve what you think you will.

Good luck!

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    The first sentence in this answer directly disagrees with the opinion of a strong majority of psychologists- the overwhelming opinion is that general intelligence exists, and IQ measures it well. See the associated Wikipedia page for the full details. – DreamConspiracy Nov 17 at 12:57
  • "IQ tests do not measure intelligence but rather a correlate with a weak causal link to intelligence" - Have the DOI if you want to look up the paper 10.1037//0033-2909.101.2.171 – Persistence Nov 17 at 13:05
  • The sentence you quoted starts with "The hypothesis that best fits the results is that." That means the paper you are quoting has 1) not done a scientifically rigorous study to determine that the statement you made is true, and 2) decided to try and fit the evidence to a hypothesis in the abstract of the paper, something which the scientific method requires you not to do. So yes, I stand by the scientifically rigorous claims made in the metastudy/survey that wikipedia cites as opposed to the untested hypothesis of one author. – DreamConspiracy Nov 17 at 13:18
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we want him to be high IQ as well

IQ is mostly nature and only partly nurture.

There is a known case of a young boy (I'll try to find it online) who was intensively taught chess at an early age because his parents wanted him to become a young grand master. He became a very good player but never progressed beyond a certain level. He simply didn't have the right levels of memory and logic required. Who knows, if he had been allowed to choose, he might have become a great artist or writer. Instead he became neurotic under the constant pressure and disappointment from his parents and has now disappeared from public view.

Do you want your child to become a badge of honour for you or do you want your child to have a happy life?

My suggestion. Find out by experiment what the child's talents and interests are and encourage those. Forget IQ.

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    On the other hand, there is the well-documented successful case of the Polgár sisters. – anonymous Nov 17 at 19:52
  • @anonymous The Polgár sisters chose their ancestors wisely. – Rodrigo de Azevedo Nov 18 at 12:53
  • @RodrigodeAzevedo I agree. Surely there is selection bias. But in any case that experiment shows that this educational strategy cannot be dismissed with a simple "it won't work, and will only produce frustrated individuals". – anonymous Nov 18 at 13:20
  • @anonymous Like becoming an Olympic athlete, I suspect that becoming a chess grandmaster requires both genetics and lots of hard work from an early age. Without either you’re doomed to mediocrity. – nick012000 Nov 19 at 20:24
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The key is amount of time you spend with your kid.

Amount of time you spend with your kid matters. In comparision, there is nothing like quality time. It is about amount of time. Regarding how for the required goal, we need to remember, "Where there is a will there is a way" as it is situation specific.

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You write that both you and your wife are highly intelligent.

So I would like to ask: What did your parents and the parents of your wife do that you both became so intelligent? Do you remember some things? Or would you say that you had a normal childhood, just like other children?

I guess that they did not do anything special. And they both were successful in having an intelligent child. If a child is highly intelligent, this will show sooner or later, and if you are a good parent, you will help her to develop her abilities and interests. But you cannot produce intelligence in a child.

Every baby, no matter how intelligent they are, should be loved and cared for. Talk to your daughter, carry her around, play with her, spend time with her. Please do not put any pressure on her about the way you think she has to develop. You can only help your child to become what she already is, to develop what is in her. But if you try to force her, you will only harm her.

And please do not forget that people can be very happy in life without being highly intelligent or super successful. Your daughter has to find her own way through life, and she will if she has supportive parents.

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    "I guess that they did not do anything special." => I'm not sure if that's a valid assumption to make. I know all kinds of high IQ people and most had highly involved parents or other relatives. You can of course rely on luck, but if you want your child to be better than others, you'll probably need to be an above average parent too. – JonathanReez Nov 18 at 19:24
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An aspect which people didn't mention yet is that how you talk to your child is important. An infant is a paradox: It is at the same time simple and of infinite depth. Children need chit-chat and play and fun but they need serious communication as well. The principal attitude I want to stress is: Take your child serious as a person. Listen to what they have to say. Right now that will be non-verbal, but they do communicate! When they want to play, when they complain, when they are tired, take them seriously. That will assure them that they are being heard. If they don't want to do something, ask yourself: Is it really necessary? (It is surprising how many things aren't.) Later, when they ask a question, answer. Many questions from children are hard to answer. Always strive to answer to the best of your abilities. Take that as an opportunity: You will learn together with your child. The communication is not a one-way street. This is fun, and a fun way of bonding. Things learned while emotionally involved stick.

A last question. Are you a couch potato? Probably not. Want your child to become one? Probably not. Therefore: Zero screen time.

Treat your child with respect and attention, from day 1.

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    "Your child is a peer, from day 1." There's strong academic research into neurological development that suggests that this isn't true. Your brain hasn't finished developing until well into your twenties; even teenagers aren't peers to adults yet, regardless of their exclamations to the contrary, since the part of the brain responsible for rational decision making has yet to come fully online. – nick012000 Nov 18 at 3:58
  • @nick012000 That children's (and, to a lesser degree, teens') brains aren't fully developed seems obvious. That does not mean they cannot be "peers". What I mean with that is: Take them seriously. They are not "inferior". They participate in family decision making (even if adults may have the final word because their wish is not doable). Let them feel the consequences of their actions and wishes, protect and guide them where necessary. Maybe the key word is respect here. Don't be manipulative. Tell them the truth (always). Adults aren't fully responsible and rational beings either! (ctd.) – Peter - Reinstate Monica Nov 18 at 8:08
  • (ctd.:) So in essence the attitude is similar to the one you may have with a close adult friend. Plus, of course, the unconditional "I'll be there for you no matter what" which comes as part of a parent-child relationship. I think that's the best way to let them develop their own footing. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Nov 18 at 8:11
  • @nick012000 there's also strong academic research indicating that having a lower IQ negatively correlates with rational decision making, memory, learning, and some similar concepts. Does that mean people with a lower IQ than yours aren't your peers either? – DreamConspiracy Nov 19 at 12:43
  • @DreamConspiracy Generally, yes, considering that my personal peers would be other postgraduate students. More to the point, though, is that children aren’t little adults, and treating them that way can be harmful to their development. Treating them like they were was an educational fad that didn’t work. – nick012000 Nov 19 at 20:18
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The key is amount of time you spend with your kid.

Amount of time you spend with your kid matters. In comparision, there is nothing like quality time. It is about amount of time. Regarding how for the required goal, we need to remember, "were there is a will there is a way" as it is situation specific.

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I will say this..keep them happy and engaged. Teaching our son simple sign language as a baby helped him ask for what he wanted = happy! Playing games like concentration with picture/word cards kept him engaged and he was happy with his success. Reading books "with" him helped his speech and reading skills. He was reading before 3 yrs old. He wanted to be like those around him. Case in point(for the negative side), he could count to 100 before he was 3 yrs old but one day new kids got put into his daycare class and mysteriously he forgot how to count that high. Keep them happy and engaged and they WILL amaze us all.

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I thought a bit, and am deciding to come back to this question and want to say something beyond my earlier comment of "Read Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! and take that book's lesson for a blueprint."

I ranked 7th in the nation in a math contest, scored a 172 on the Modern Languages Aptitude Test (linguist comment: "I'm not sure what to make of it. I've been scoring this test for 30 years and I've never seen a score this high"), and when complaining to a psychologist about a Harvard ThD acting strangely, got a gentle set of Socratic questions leading up to "The average Harvard PhD has never met someone as talented as you."

My reaction to the premise of this discussion is, "Why on earth? Let a kid be a kid." If your child develops around an IQ of 130, that is an absolutely wonderful thing. Leta Hollingsworth, a founding mother in gifted education, posited a range of "socially optimal intelligence" (see ...A Look at Profound Giftedness Through Orthodox Anthropology), and an IQ of 130-ish is set for some awfully beneficial experiences in life. Overclocking the child as much as you can, no matter how high your intentions, is exceedingly cruel if it succeeds.

I taught myself calculus in an independent study in eighth grade when geometry had me bored to tears, and I would underscore "I" here. I took initiatives and pursued them. Including musing about metaphysics on my bed way early, somewhere around the age of three. My parents didn't put social or other pressure to make me a genius, and if anything my parents would have had a simpler life if I hadn't asked questions like, "If white is the presence of all colors, and black is the absence of all colors, how come if I scribble with all my crayons on a piece of paper, it looks black instead of white?"

People have mentioned things you can do, and speaking as a former technology professional I would probably add a "Yes and amen" to what others have said about screen time; if I want to say something beyond "Let a kid be a kid," I'd encourage you to read and deeply digest my collection in The Luddite's Guide to Technology, which addresses the worst threats to intelligence faced by children today that the previous (mumble) hundred thousand years of human development ever faced in one single drop. But even here, as much as I mean The Luddite's Guide to Technology (and Profoundly Gifted Survival Guide, if it matters), I would give two pieces of advice:

  1. Drop the eugenics grab.

  2. Love your kid.

And that's it, no matter how much I stand behind my books.

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