Six Easy Everyday Strategies to Raise Your Child's IQ

Laura Markham's picture

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Many people believe that intelligence is static; either you're smart or you're not. But it turns out that intelligence is like a muscle: it can be developed with use. What's more, if you believe that's true, your brain has more potential!

Stanford researcher Carol Dweck ran an experiment with junior high schoolers. If they helped the kids to think they could develop their intelligence, would the kids' math grades improve?

In less than two hours over eight weeks, they taught the students concepts such as: "Your brain is like a muscle that can be developed with exercise; just as a baby gets smarter as it learns, so can you."

The results were astonishing: the brain-is-a-muscle students significantly outperformed their peers in a math assessment.

So a significant part of bettering your child's school performance is helping him believe in his ability to build mental muscle. Kids who "think they can" are perpetual learners -- they can learn what they need to in new situations and are always curious to learn more.

Here's how:

  1. Teach your child that "Your brain is like a muscle that can be developed with exercise; just as a baby gets smarter as it learns, so can you."

  2. Develop her skills in logic and articulation by talking with her every day about life, what you're doing, what she's doing.

  3. Help her develop curiosity about the world by wondering aloud about things and then looking them up together online. "I wonder what makes the sky blue?" When she asks "Why?" she's doing her job. You don't have to know the answers, looking them up together models something you want her to feel comfortable doing.

  4. Let your baby explore. Babyproof as necessary for safety, and then make your peace with having to put the pans back in the cupboard and the books back on the shelf for a few months. Studies show that saying no and slapping your baby's hand creates a child who "thinks inside the box," which, quite simply, lowers his IQ and ability to solve problems later in life.

  5. Don't push your child to read or achieve academically before kindergarten age. Toddlers and preschoolers have other, more critical work to do, from building with blocks, to playing with rhythm and color, to learning how to get along with their peers. That is the foundation they need for later learning.

  6. Inspire a love of reading. The most important way? Read to them, a half hour before bedtime, every night. Kids who read for pleasure do better in school at every level.

Dr. Laura Markham


This is a great article. I always believed that brain can be trained just like any other muscle, and often remind about it to my son. I bought a few books that help one to train brain and consequently increase IQ. And I like these books, but mostly they offer logical and math problems. This article gives you full integrated plan that is easy to fallow and very doable.

-Sarah Johns