Often as parents we want to know that our child is ‘on track’ with their development. As parents we want to do the best for our children. This can mean our competitive nature can get the better of us and we end up looking to gauge if our child is smarter than the average child. So first of all how do we know, and what are we looking for to reassure us that our child could be the next Einstein?
The answer to this is not necessarily what you may expect. A quick list of traits that you can tick off and compare against so that you can see how your child is going is hard to find. However, the research does indicate that in the first 5 years, or as some refer to, the preschool years, there are some very real indicators for creating the very best environment for your child to reach their potential. Let us focus on these. Potentially this will result in you seeing those exciting signs that your preschooler is smarter than the average.
5 Signs that your preschooler is smarter than average:
- Do they have opportunities to play?
- Are they resilient?
- Are they engaged with a primary carer?
- Do they like to learn new things?
- Do they feel safe?
If you can answer YES to all of the above, you’re providing your child with the best possible environment to be smarter than average.
What can we do to influence intelligence?
1. During the first 1000 days of a child’s life, they need a stress-free environment as much as possible. This includes whilst the baby is inside Mum’s tummy. This will then allow the brain of the baby to focus on developing intelligence and not worry about survival aspects. The age-old myth that when Mum is pregnant, she puts her feet up is best, turns out to be absolutely true for the developing baby.
2. Encourage independent and creative thinking over cramming in facts. Again, research shows that the child that can recite the alphabet at 3 is actually less likely to be smarter than the 3-year-old that talks to their imaginary friend.
3. One of the most important factors in a human’s life to help them reach their true potential is the amount of words and engagement that a human has in the first 1000 days of life. Talking with your pre-schooler is vital.
4. A thing called a dyadic relationship is key. This factor alone is directly proportional to the measure of success by age 32. A child who has a primary carer, who forms a real connected relationship and speaks with the child constantly, is more likely to be smarter than average than a child who has formed no real attachment to any one person.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff, if you and your child don’t have numbers 1- 4 nailed, the research also shows that brains are very resilient, and it is never too late for any human to start.
A child who has Einstein for a Dad may be genetically able to be smarter than the average preschooler, but if whilst they were in Mum’s tummy, Mummy was very stressed, their chances of being the next Einstein diminishes. If they are then put into an environment that focuses on worksheets and rote learning and they’re not supported to be creative with their play, the chances that they will be smarter than the average, again diminishes. If they form no real attachments to any one person because no one takes the time to sit and read to them and have real engagement and conversations, then the research shows that at age 32 they are less likely to be smarter than average.
Remember, when measuring if your preschooler is smarter than average, that just because an elephant can’t climb a tree doesn’t make them any less smart than a monkey.