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Should You Test Your Toddler's IQ Level?

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have 3 years old son, at the age of 1.5 years old he knows the ABC and colors before he learn to talk. At the age of two he knows the phonics, opposites, shapes, months and days and he can read simple words like months, days, colors and shape. At the age two and half he knows some of the flags. Now at the age of 3 he knows the 195 country flags and which continent they are in plus some of the capitals, he knows geography. He knows the solar system, and he can read on his own without us teaching him. Is it possible to check his IQ level, because sometimes he just love to stay in the house and study than attending his nursery class.

A: Your son does appear to be rather advanced compared to his peers. However, to gauge his IQ, you could need to test him with a standard test (e.g., the Wechsler's or the Stanford-Binet). However, I would advise against testing at such a young age unless there is a strong need. Instead there are many activities you could do at home or suggest to his teacher to keep him stimulated and developing further.

The best thing for a young advanced child to do is to be able to explore his/her surrounding that feeds the needs for that extra stimulation. So providing him with educational materials that challenges and stimulate his thinking would be a great start. Monitor and observe his strengths and use activities that interest him to motivate him further. At this age, you should provide him with a variety of materials to determine what really interests him. At the same time, also monitor his dislikes. Say, if you find that he dislikes “numbers” related activities, find a different way to nurture that interest. Use measurements, for example to introduce the concept of numbers and simple math. Instead of direct math related activities, you can actually introduce simple math using measurement scales - e.g., by the beach, a pail of sand, half a pail of sand, etc. As long as the activity requires stimulation and interests the child, it would surely help him learn more actively.

Apart from direct learning, there are other ways to expose a young advanced child. For example, museum visits, field trips, visiting a farm, nature walk, etc. What is crucial here is the variety of activities. At the same time, allow for a good amount of free play – avoid “over guiding”. Parents sometimes get carried away and provide too much stimulation, and may not allow the child to self explore with limited time for free play. Allow him to be on his own exploring the learning materials you have provided. For example, even if he is not able to complete a puzzle, get him to keep trying instead of running to his aid. When the child gets used to parents who keep helping them, it may deter them to think for themselves and always wanting parents to help out. This may slow down the development of their cognitive abilities.

Do also read as much as you can on giftedness for greater awareness and if possible, join a local association for gifted children. Sharing information on parenting advanced children is one of the best ways to help nurture your child. Here's wishing you the very in your parenting journey. Good luck!


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