Your child’s IQ isn’t just a
number written in stone: On the contrary, it can shift, depending on how hard
you work as a parent—and we’re not talking about flash cards or math drills.
In a new study by the
University of Oregon, Eugene, cognitive neuroscientist Helen Neville enrolled 141 3 to 5 year olds in Oregon’s Head Start
program, a program for families who live at or below the poverty line. For
eight weeks, kids spent an hour every week doing activities that required
intense concentration—for instance, they had to hold a bowl of water while
walking across a narrow ribbon.
Meanwhile, their parents were
divided into three groups. One group spent an hour every week taking classes learning
how to improve their child’s concentration skills. The second group received
only three 90-minute tutorials on the same tasks, while the third group got no
Eight weeks later, researchers
tested the kids in a number of ways (IQ, spatial reasoning tests,
behavioral reports and measured brain activity). They found that kids whose parents had received the most training on
improving their kids’ attention skills showed the most improvements—in fact, a
50% increase in brain activity compared to the other groups. Plus those kids
showed a 7-point boost in IQ.
The take-home message? The
more you engage with your kids, the smarter they get. Maybe you always suspected
that this is a better tactic than handing them an iPad, but hey, now you’ve finally