By the age of 4, a child’s brain develops more than we could have imagined, reaching 80-90% of its size. Moreover, between 0 and 2 years, the brain triples its size, which happens especially due to the growth of neural connections. This period of intellectual “boom” significantly impacts the intelligence of the future adult. That is why it is important to value the education of the new family member from birth. Early education experts claim that a child’s intelligence is determined by factors that occur even before birth.
According to a study published in 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the basis for the development of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) consists of a mixture of genetic code, environmental influences and positive/ negative experiences that the child goes through, both before and after birth.
The psychological profile of the child is shaped even during intrauterine life. It includes cognitive skills, emotional predispositions, interests and temperament
Early education specialist Valentina Secară, founder of the FIRST7 Training Center for Parents and Teachers, talks about how parents can stimulate the baby’s IQ development to ensure a harmonious growth, both mental and emotional.
Cognitive development begins before birth
According to a complex work published in 2011 by the US National Child Development Council, the brain of the yet unborn baby has a very high plasticity. This feature makes it particularly susceptible to the chemical and hormonal changes to which it is exposed. Thus, a high concentration of stress hormones in the mother’s body, such as cortisone, can slow down or even disrupt the intense process of brain development.
Even before birth, parents are encouraged to read, sing and speak to their baby.
” The baby can hear from the third trimester of pregnancy, and the early exposure to the structure of the spoken language and harmonious musical rhythms pave the way for further acquisitions: speaking, writing, reading and counting. As an expecting mother, all you have to do is to find yourself a relaxing place, a comfortable position, a favorite book, and read to to your baby. This ritual can become your favorite relaxing moment during the day and by involving your partner you can create a special three-way link” says Valentina Secară.
IQ and EQ in the first years of life
From conception to preadolescence, children are endowed with a formidable learning capacity. During this period, essential neural links are formed, memory and language achieve a very high level of functioning and the personality traits of the future adult are outlined.
The “window of opportunity” is a useful concept for parents who want to stimulate the child’s intellectual and emotional intelligence. Specifically, the “windows” refer to periods in which the child can aquire various skills, notions and abilities more easily.
“The synapses responsible for problem solving, for example, are formed between 1.6-4 years, just like those responsible for impulse control. The synapses for cause-to-effect relationships are formed in the period 0-1,6 years, and the ones responsible for language develop from 0 to 2 years, “Valentina Secară adds.
The early education specialist advises adults to facilitate the child’s encounter with new information and situations that he or she can assimilate. If the education is not sufficiently synchronized with these fertile learning periods, the child’s acquisitions risk not reaching their full potential.
According to the Department of Family and Child Development at the University of Georgia, the Emotional Quotient (EQ) predicts 80% of the child’s future professional success, and it can also be stimulated in childhood. A person with a high emotional intelligence tends to develop a balanced value system and scores highly in tests that measure aspects of morality.
Ways to stimulate intellectual and emotional intelligence in babies
When they come into the world, children make learn and understand information around them in a sensory way and through by imitating the adult. Thus, according to the founder of the Early Years Conference, the development of a brilliant intellectual intelligence must include all the senses of the child:
- Exposure of the child to images containing contrasts (black and white models)
- Exploring various textures with their palms and soles (sensory alleys)
- Maintain a stimulating background music (such as Mozart)
- Surround the child with warm colors, such as yellow
- Setting a positive pattern (seeing the adult smile will make the child smile in return)
To raise an emotionally intelligent child, it’s important that parents:
- Smile to the child often
- Name their emotions as well as the child’s
- Express their admiration or gratitude to the child when they feel like doing so
- Offer empathy when the child suffers (“I understand that it hurts” instead of “It’s just a scratch” when the child suffers an injury)
- Provide the baby with the physical contact they need
Early education plays a key role in preparing the child for the challenges of adult life. Its architects – parents and educators – can encourage the development of complex features such as intelligence very early on, by using sensory methods: color, smells, sounds and textures.