Children’s intelligence is one of the parents’ bragging subjects. In this article I will talk about the role parenting plays in enhancing the child’s intelligence, I will explain whether being smart is genetic or acquired, and many other related concepts.
For many years, and until the publication of recent studies related to the subject, it was believed that children’s intelligence is inherited from their parents. But it turned out that all children are born with similar cognitive abilities. The role of the parents is to enhance those innate abilities, so it is a relationship between nature and nurture; children are born smart by nature, but it is our role to nurture and enhance this intelligence.
The baby is born with a fully developed brain containing centers responsible for the different functions of the body; cognitive, sensory, motor, and biological functions. But at birth, all these centers, are still dormant. Except for the vision and sucking centers that allow the baby to start breastfeeding immediately after birth. To activate these dormant centers, connections among them must be established. The more connections are made the more efficiently the brain works.
Interacting with your baby the moment he o she is born, is an excellent way to start building those connections that make a baby smarter. The more you interact with your newborn verbally, and non-verbally the more you stimulate the brain which increases the child’s intelligence.
In addition, the daily repetition of this interaction plays a big role in raising smarter kids. Repetition thickens the connections among the brain’s different centers. This thickness increases the speed of travel of the neuro signals among the brain’s centers, which makes the brain’s functions more efficient, the speed of the signals means fast thinking, quick realization, execution, and awareness.
- Talk to your baby every day once he wakes up.
- Sing the same songs at the same times.
- Tell your baby it’s time to change the diaper, take a bath, or to feed.
Language is the most important factor that will help you raise a smarter child. This includes:
- Talking to your baby.
- Singing to your baby, which will teach phonics, rhyming words, and other linguistic concepts.
- Non-verbal communication and interaction.
- Reading to your child using interactive baby books.
- Teaching the baby vocabulary through daily activities, such as counting while going up the stairs, learning colors while playing and eating, etc. Avoid making this teaching scholastic and keep it fun.
In a study that observed two groups of families, one group was highly interacting with their babies, while the other kept interaction to the minimum, it turned out that the interacting families used to talk an average of 2500 words per hour with their babies, while with the other group the average was 500 words per hour. The volume of words, with the increased interaction through laughing and playing, had a direct effect on the number and thickness of interbrain connections. The children’s participating in this study had their IQ measured at age 3, and the children of the families with more interaction were smarter. In addition, their vocabulary had 1000 words while the children from the other group had a vocabulary of only 500 words.
Interaction and non-verbal communication are essential for the success of language in enhancing the child’s intelligence. This makes screens a nonefficient way to use language to raise smart children.
In another study done at Harvard University, known as the still face study. The mother was asked to talk to her baby interactively while smiling and moving and later turn to the baby with a still face. The baby’s reaction was to try and stimulate the mom into interacting with him than to provoke her, and when his attempts failed, he felt frustrated and burst into tears. The increase in interaction, alongside talking to a baby helps stimulate the connections among the sensory, cognitive, motor, and emotional centers of the brain.
Babies in the first year of their lives, don’t have a linguistic filter. So, it is very important not to mix languages while speaking to them. Babies are like sponges they absorb everything from us, so speaking to them in half Arabic, and half English will lead them to understand that this is one language! If while speaking to your baby in your mother language you wanted to sing a lullaby in a different language, you need to verbalize that and say to your baby: “And now I will sing to you in English” With repetition, your baby will understand that now there will be a language switch.
Arabic for a smarter child
Studies have shown that language acquisition is on the left side of the brain, except for Arabic which is on both sides! This means that speaking Arabic creates more connections among the brain’s centers which helps raise smarter children.
Training your baby to make decisions will make him or her smarter. For example, instead of putting all the toys in front of the baby, put them in a reachable place, then encourage your baby to go and pick a toy without assistance. This will help you raise a smarter more independent child.
- Interaction with nature
Interacting with nature enhances the different senses and increases intelligence. Keeping the baby in an enclosed environment decreases interaction among different centers in the brain.
- Social interaction
Raising babies in a social environment where they interact with different people, increases their intelligence. As it trains them to recognize different faces, in addition to enhancing their vocabulary, social and emotional skills,