The first three years mark a critical period of cognitive and intellectual development in children.  Can parents take a pro-active role to nurture their child?  Or does IQ come inherent in our genes? Numerous studies have shown that even though genes do play a part, a significant portion of intellectual competency can be nurtured.

Besides good nutrition, parents or caregivers play a critical role in creating a conducive, loving environment to for a child to develop cognitively.


Good Nutrition

A study of 4,000 children published by Bristol University has shown that babies with a healthy, balanced diet fare better than babies who rely on too much processed or refined foods. One powerful brain food is fish oil, which is rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. This provides the building blocks required for cell development; starting an omega-3 rich diet early in pregnancy helps in boosting a child’s IQ.

Doctors recommend pregnant women to take supplements such as DHA, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. DHA can also be found in many infant formulas, and most importantly, in the all-natural breast milk.


Interactive Reading and Playtime


Closeup of Mother and daughter spending time together
Interactive Reading

Reading can be an enjoyable activity that bonds mother and child, as well as building his or her vocabulary at the same time! Studies have indicated that Interactive Reading, in which the child actively participates, can boost IQ by up to 6 points. Read about it here. Interestingly, the study also reveals that Interactive Reading loses its effectiveness when the child hits approximately 4 years old.

It is therefore ideal to start your child on Interactive Reading below the age of 3, in order to maximize his or her cognitive growth. Parents are also encouraged to ask open-ended questions, rather than merely reading. This would stimulate the thinking centers of the child’s brain, and encourage them to master speech and comprehension.

Playtime is also an excellent opportunity to develop your child’s intellectual ability. Let her discover sound with musical toys, teach her cause-and-effect with building blocks, or stimulate her senses with bright colours, simple patterns or interesting textures.

If you’re keen to find out more about this topic, we’d recommend the following resource: “What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life” by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. Happy reading!

Loving Relationships

Chinese young lady playing with her daughter at home
Parent-children bond enhances child's IQ

Everyone knows the importance of affectionate, loving relationships and how they heavily influence the development of young children. When a child’s needs are met in a loving and reliable manner, they have so much more freedom to explore and learn about the world around them, developing an inquisitive mind which is fundamental for intellectual growth.

An added benefit is that children are inclined to please the people which they love; if you lead by example and demonstrate how important learning and asking questions are to you, your child is likely to follow your example in order to please you! Encourage and stimulate them to talk and interact with others to promote social development.


Enrolling in a Pre-school

If your budget allows for it, a Pre-school is a controlled, safe environment for your child to be exposed to a range of beneficial stimuli. The rigor of pre-school allows your child to practice problem solving and to learn to navigate social situation – activities that may increase underlying intelligence. The education syllabus can also improve your child’s knowledge of specific facts, increase attention span, and develop verbal reasoning skills.

However, a Pre-school is not a substitute for parental care and affection! A child still needs every bit of attention and love to grow and develop optimally.


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