If you find yourself parenting a child with a low IQ and want to find ways to help them improve their self-esteem and knowledge base, or even if you just want to know how to boost a child’s IQ to help them get ahead in school, there are a few tried and true methods to consider.
The effectiveness of these methods depends largely on the current age of the child, as well as the unique environmental and developmental conditions they are facing.
Before you can evaluate your child’s IQ level and determine if you should step in to help them raise that level, you will need to take into consideration what an IQ score means for a child.
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What is an IQ Score?
The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics states that an IQ score is “A traditional intelligence test that measures specific forms of cognitive ability that are predictive of school functioning, but do not measure the many forms of intelligence that are beyond these more specific skills, such as music, art, and interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities.”
IQ scores calculate whether or not a child is “gifted,” using the following scale:
While this score can help you determine your child’s likelihood to succeed or struggle in a traditional education setting, it also is not capable of measuring other valuable skill bases that help children succeed and thrive in life. Even though it is not a comprehensive intelligence measurement tool, it is still a globally accepted scale by which to measure your child’s average intelligence ranking compared to their peers.
What Causes Low IQ in Children?
There are two different stratifications of cognitive development for those that fall below the average IQ level. For many, their lower-than-average score is largely irrelevant; they are able to function normally and there is no visible difference in their capacity to learn and grow as compared to their higher-achieving peers.
For others, the decrease in IQ is visible, and the cognitive impairments provide hurdles that the child will struggle to overcome their whole life through. Sometimes called intellectual disability, this common mental struggle can span a wide spectrum of learning disabilities and mental struggles, including dyslexia, ADHD, speech impediments, and so much more.
While many of these struggles can be overcome through adaptive learning and mental and physical training, others will remain a lifelong burden that will require the child to have special educational environments and possibly even constant care, if they are impaired enough that it affects their ability to function in their day to day lives.
Again, it is important to note that just because a child tests below the average IQ level of their peers, it does not mean that they are doomed to live a life of subpar academic achievement. So much of learning is based on memory skills and the student’s ability to find innovative solutions to problems they are facing, so it is entirely possible for a low-scoring individual to discipline their minds and find creative ways to achieve in an educational setting.
Average IQ Scores And Their Relation to a Child’s Age
Contrary to popular belief, our capacity for intelligence does not fluctuate much as we age. Our cognitive abilities, as well as our ability to communicate the extent of our knowledge to others in the form of test-taking improve with age, but the brain we are born with is – for the most part – the brain we grow up with.
Given the table above, half of all children will fall below the average IQ score of 90-109. This is neither good nor bad –it is just a tested statistic that showcases how rare it is to have a child with an extremely high IQ. Of the 50% of children that fall into the above-average category, over 16% will have an average IQ of 110-119. To put that into perspective, if you took a group of 100 kids, only 50 of them would be above 109 on the score scale, to begin with. Approximately 8 would fall into the 110-119 range, and fewer than 5 children would have scored higher than 120.
With that said, there are many developmental strategies you can use to help unlock increased brain function and to set your child up for long-term success. Generally speaking, if your child falls below the average IQ score of 90-109 – no matter what their age – there is room for improvement and a chance for you to help your child’s intelligence development grow more rapidly.
How To Boost Your Child’s IQ – Tips
As mentioned earlier, the intelligence you are born with is essentially the same level of intellectual capacity you will take with you into your adult life. However, by stretching and challenging your brain consistently, you can encourage it to retain information better and to unlock “lazy” cognitive areas that are not naturally firing at top speed.
Here are a few tips for helping your child tap into their inner genius:
- Engage their minds in a broad range of information and activities. Studies show that reading a variety of books, studying languages, creating art, and even exploring scientific data can stimulate the mind and improve brain function. When we allow children to focus mentally on only those things that interest them or that they are naturally good at, we rob them of the opportunity to grow their mental horizons.
- Help them become more active. Exercise unlocks endorphins, which in turn help relax our minds and allow us to take in new information in a peaceful, unguarded state. Children especially require high levels of physical activity in order for their bodies to burn off enough distracting energy that they can truly focus on and learn. Regular exercise has also been linked to improved memory and enhanced concentration abilities.
- Create a consistent sleep routine. A study conducted by a well-known sleep research center showed that for every hour of sleep consistently lost a night, children can lose a full IQ point. This astronomical loss ratio highlights what most people already know: sleep is incredibly important to brain development and function – especially in children.
- Force the brain to solve old problems in new ways. Our brains are always trying to create subtle habit patterns in order to make life easier for us. This is great when it comes to navigating your morning commute, but it is not as great when it comes to trying to boost your mental margins. For children, the goal is to help them approach problems and tasks in fresh ways, so their minds are always growing and searching for innovative, creative ways to do things.
If you have very young children at home, as opposed to school-aged children, you may want to try some simpler brain-boosting activities, such as:
- Reading books aloud together
- Building with blocks or Legos to help improve special awareness
- Speaking to them using high-level language (not “baby talk”)
- Encouraging use of sensory play elements, like playdoh, rice, and even pebbles
- Exploring new places and climbing
Whether or not you are truly able to boost your child’s IQ, implementing the above elements into your daily schedule will go a long ways toward improving your child’s overall mental health, This will encourage them to use the intelligence they have been born within creative, intentional ways throughout their whole lives.